Archive | July, 2012

Honeymoon Recap, Part 2: The Resort

31 Jul

So where did I leave off? Oh yeah, I had just thrown a fit in the airport ;). The good news is, everything was basically uphill from there. We did have to make a few calls to our travel agent (thank goodness for Travel Leaders), but they were able to extend our stay and change our return flight without any additional charges. If you’re traveling anytime soon, I definitely recommend using a travel agent and purchasing traveler’s insurance — without insurance, we would’ve lost a whole day of vacation after we’d already paid for it!

After the travel agent worked out the details for us (thank you, Michelle!), we were back at the airport, and finally on the plane. As I said before, because of all of the changes, we were upgraded to first class! We were newbies to first class and felt a little funny, but we enjoyed drinking from real glasses and eating a good meal.

 

Our entire day of travel was about 14 hours, and we had a time change at nearly every stop, so by the time we got to Maui, I was happy to be on the ground, but ready for a nap. Fortunately, my excitement started to kick in and got me through the rest of the day. Around 2:30 p.m. Hawaii time, we got off the plane, made a quick pit stop at Starbucks, and we’re greeted with (very pretty!) leis before grabbing our luggage.

Since we flew first class, our luggage was the first to come out, which was such a relief. There’s always a fear of losing something along the way! Picking up the rental car was not as speedy. For 30 minutes, they tried to convince us to upgrade to a Jeep or convertible (“because it makes the experience so much better”), but we stuck to our guns and ended up perfectly content with our Ford Fusion. Actually — our car had major problems on the way to the hotel and they had to bring us a tow truck and a new car — but that was the last of the unfortunate events :).

Once we finally arrived at our hotel, I was so happy to be there. We stayed at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka’anapali. It had an open air lobby, and I was immediately impressed by the views.

The view from our room was just as pretty, and we didn’t wait too long before changing into our bathing suits and exploring the resort grounds!

We decided we were too tired to swim that night, but we did check out the pools, the koi pond, the outdoor and indoor workout rooms, and the beach.

After exploring for a while, we realized that it was already beginning to get dark outside, and it wasn’t even 7:00 p.m. — one of the biggest differences from Indiana, where at this time of year, it doesn’t get dark until 10:00 p.m.

That evening, my body was confused by the time difference, and I didn’t know whether to eat, sleep, or explore some more. We decided we’d both feel better if we ate dinner, so we went to the hotel’s restaurant, ‘OnO Bar & Grill. I had the fish tacos, quite possibly my favorite dish of the whole trip.

And since we were on our honeymoon, we just had to split dessert. We shared the macadamia fudge pie, which was amazing. So amazing, that we went back for it two more times while in Maui.

We also visited ‘OnO a couple of more times on our trip. The prices were reasonable, it was a 2 minute walk from our room, and there was a never a wait since it was primarily for hotel guests. We quickly learned that most restaurants require reservations, and the food is not cheap in Hawaii (but it’s so, so good).

On our first night, we went to bed at 9:30 and woke up at 6:30. Even though we were still dragging a little, I think we did a pretty good job of adjusting to the time difference! The next day, our first full day on the island, was dedicated solely to relaxing. Our Hawaiian adventures were just beginning :).

To be continued…

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Honeymoon Recap, Part 1: The Delay

30 Jul

Over the weekend, I uploaded a total of 413 photos to my laptop. So, as you can imagine, unless I show you 413 photos in one blog post (and I promise that I won’t), these recaps will have to be in parts. Since I want to wait until we get our wedding pictures back from the photographer to recap our big day, I’m going to start with our honeymoon. Our honeymoon had to get bad before it got better, but it all worked out in the end. Let me explain…

After the wedding, we spent our first night in our apartment, and the next day at home, packing and shopping for last minute travel items. Since our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:15 am, we decided we’d stay downtown the night before, closer to the airport, and begin our honeymoon in Indianapolis. On Sunday night, my family took Jordan and I downtown to Buca di Beppos, before dropping us and our 100 pounds of luggage (literally) off at our hotel, the J.W. Marriott.

We were in a corner room filled with windows on the 33rd floor. It had a gorgeous view, and unless we can afford to make it an anniversary tradition, it was probably a once in a lifetime experience — we tried our best to take it all in! We couldn’t take it in for too long, though, because a taxi was scheduled to pick us up outside of the lobby at 3:45 a.m., meaning we had a 3:15 a.m. wake-up call! It was a little sad to leave, but we were also excited since our next destination was Maui, Hawaii. Or so we thought.

Our friendly taxi driver picked up our luggage just before 3:45, and we hopped in the car, ready to go. We were sporting our Bride and Groom shirts, ready to enjoy the honeymoon experience.

Since it wasn’t even 4:00 a.m. when we arrived at the airport, we were basically the first couple in line at US Airways, except for one other couple, who seemed to be throwing a fit at the counter. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it, until Jordan scanned our boarding passes…

After scanning his pass, a message came across the screen stating that our flight had been cancelled, and we needed to speak with an attendant about the details. Assuming it was a mistake, as we had just double checked the flight before we went to bed, I scanned my pass, hoping to see a different message. No such luck. That’s when I started eavesdropping on the complaining couple — who, apparently, was on their way to Hawaii for their 25th wedding anniversary. Sure enough, our flight to Phoenix had been cancelled.

At this point, it was 4:15 am, I hadn’t had more than five hours of sleep in days, and after hearing the disappointing news, my adrenaline was wearing off. Thankfully, Jordan is much more patient than I am. He spoke to one of the ladies at the counter, and she handed him a business card, telling him to call the number listed in order to reschedule our flight. The reason she gave us for the cancellation? One of the flight attendants called in sick. We were then sent to wait in a line with a bunch of other angry people. My blood was boiling I was on the verge of tears.

Thank goodness we got to the airport so early, because we were at the front of the line and didn’t have to wait too long before being helped. After finding out that US Airways had nothing else available for that morning, we were sent to American Airlines, who supposedly had an available flight. We waited in line for 45 minutes, found two seats on a flight to Dallas, weighed our bags, and were just about to leave for security when… the attendant notified us that the flight to Dallas was delayed — there was no way that we would make our connecting flight to Maui. At this point, I was ready to scream. We were sent back over to US Airways to figure something else out, where there was a line of about 100 angry people — apparently it was a full flight, and they had to make new arrangements for everyone. 

This was when the tears started rolling. Yep, there I was, in the middle of a semi-crowded airport, tears streaming down my face. I was kind of grateful for my ‘Bride’ shirt at that point, because brides are allowed to be dramatic, right ;)? By the time we got to the front of the line again, we were told that everything was booked for the day, and there was no way we would be going to Hawaii on Monday. After waking up at 3:15 am, leaving our expensive hotel super early, paying for a cab, and realizing that we might have to do it all over again the next day, I had a meltdown — in the middle of the airport. Thank God for Jordan. Sleep deprivation does nothing for the already over-dramatic me.

Jordan talked to the lady at the desk for 15 minutes, trying to work something out. I sat on the floor with a bunch of other people, and cried. By that time, we should’ve been boarding our plane. When Jordan came back with the news, I wasn’t happy. The only available flight was the next day, Tuesday, at 5:15 a.m., and we’d have a longer flight, having to make two connections instead of one. We had to take it — they had a line of angry people to deal with, and there was nothing else that they could do for us.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably thinking that I acted like a brat. And maybe I did — but getting married, leaving a childhood home, moving into a new apartment, and waking up at 3:15 will do crazy things to a person. My emotions were out of control, and all I could do was cry. We had to make the call to our parents, and Jordan’s dad came to pick us up. Back to our apartment we went, where we both slept for a good four hours before finding the motivation to do anything.

When we did wake up, my emotions were more in check, and we decided to make it a fun day — technically, it was still our honeymoon!

Chipotle and ice cream sundaes were eaten, and I made sure to get in a run at the gym for my sanity (and Jordan’s). It was another night with an early bedtime, because Jordan’s dad was picking us up at 3:30 a.m. to go to the airport. This time, we made it onto the plane with no problems — we even got upgraded to first class because of all of the changes! And yes, we did wear the same outfits, because I bought those shirts for a reason, darnit 😉 — one of the airport employees remembered us because of how upset I was the day before – oops!

We had a 12 hour flight ahead of us, but we were finally on our way to Maui.

To be continued…

Has your flight ever been cancelled?

Have you ever cried in a public place?

Jet Lagged

26 Jul

Aloooha (that’s how the locals say it ;)). I’m back!

I can’t believe it’s almost been two weeks since I’ve talked to you last! In the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten married, traveled to Hawaii, turned 24-years-old, and traveled back home — with a lot of little adventures along the way.

I can’t wait to tell you all about our wedding and honeymoon, but I am going to keep this quick since I’m currently writing from my parents’ house, as Jordan and I are still without internet.

Until then, I will be trying to rest. I am currently on Hawaii time — 6 hours behind Indiana time — and my body hasn’t caught up yet. I’m hoping I feel better tomorrow! Catch up with ya then :).

 

How to Find Your Dream Job

26 Jul

Today, Stephanie from Natural Beauty Mark is here to share her tips for finding your dream job — something that I am still learning to do, and I think you will enjoy her tips too! Thanks, Stephanie!

The hunt for your “dream job” after college can be a very daunting one. I know from experience, because it took me quite a while before I found a career that I am very happy with. My story is quite different than most, but I hope that my experiences will help to motivate and inspire you! There is no reason that just because you are young, you cannot land an awesome job that you will really enjoy!

Like I mentioned, my story is different than most. I went to college and studied what I was absolutely passionate about, which for me is Dance. I could not see myself spending countless hours learning and studying anything else. The thing I get asked most by people is ‘why?’ and my answer is always, ‘Why not?’. My reason for majoring in Dance, is definitely not because I thought I would become rich as a dancer. It was because, I knew that studying this would make my life richer, and it has. What I do now career wise, is a far cry from Dancing 8 hours a day, but I want to tell you how my college career and past experience helped me land this job.

This job I am referring to is a Social Media Strategist within the Travel/Hospitality industry. My job basically allows me to use Facebook and Twitter all day, blog, travel and work from home sometimes as well. Sound pretty awesome? Let me tell you how I got here. (Don’t worry all, I also perform with a Dance Company in San Diego). Here is the brief bullet point list: 

  • Graduated from CSULB in 2009
  • Could not find work in Long Beach, so I moved home to San Diego
  • Worked as a Dance teacher (which I loved) but my hours kept getting cut
  • Found a job as a telemarketer that I hated, but I stuck with it and learned what I could.
    • The company sold websites to REALTORS®
    • I worked my way up and began coaching REALTORS® about online and social advertising.
    • I was just tired all the time, doing the same things over and over, teaching the same things over and over. My life felt like it was repeating day after day!
    • I didn’t even want to wake up in the morning knowing I had to go and be bored for 8 hours a day!

So, I started searching for jobs online in Social Media, because I had enough experience, and I was just so tired of what I was doing. I found the job posting for the job I currently have on http://www.Monster.com! I sent in my resume, and got a phone call 1 hour later. The lady I spoke to, informed me that they received over 200 applications, and mine stood out because most other applicants had no social media experience, just basic marketing. This was in November 2011. Here are the things that helped me land the most incredible job I have ever had!

  1. Persistence – The position was posted in November 2011, but I did not get interviewed until February 2012. I stayed on top of them, I knew I wanted this job and so I just kept reminding them every week that I was still here, waiting for an opportunity.
  2. My Dance Degree- the fact that I majored in something creative was very attractive to them. They needed someone with creativity and spunk for this position. Also, someone very social, and Dance has made me a very open and friendly person.
  3. My Past Experience – When I got hired, they didn’t even know anything about social media, so the fact that I had worked at the previous job that I hated but that taught me how to teach others, was a big selling point.
  4. My Energy – I knew I was right for the position, so I made sure I told them that. I was confident in my skills, and knew I would be a great asset to the team.
  5. My Blog – Yep, my little ‘ole www.NaturalBeautyMark.com blog. I use it to ramble, post reviews, give workout and eating tips, and motivate others! My employer loved what they learned about my personality and writing skills by reading my blog, and that was one of the key factors for them hiring me.

So after months of being persistent, 2 interviews and a phone interview, I finally got the job. I have already traveled to our resorts in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Cancun Mexico. While in Puerto Vallarta, my boyfriend came also, and proposed to me there, so now we are getting married next year, with our honeymoon (in Riviera Nayarit) being paid for by my employer. I am not saying this to brag, just saying that sometimes life throws you curveballs and you have to know how to catch them and throw them back.

Hopefully this will inspire you whether you are a recent college grad, or stuck in a dead end job. There is no reason you need to be unhappy. And even though my ultimate dream would be to dance all day, I have found something that pays my bills and that I love! I have been in your shoes before, and I know what it feels like to be stuck. Just be persistent and don’t give up, and you will be on your way to making your dreams come true as well!  

Stephanie Saum is a Writer, a Social Media Strategist and a Dancer. Her blog, www.NaturalBeautyMark.com, was created in 2011, and is meant to share her own experiences in fitness, wellness and nutrition. Stephanie is also planning her wedding to the love of her life, and they are hoping to eventually become Certified Personal Trainers together.

Life as a Vegetarian

25 Jul

Well, Jordan and I are officially back in Indiana, organizing our life as newlyweds. While I’m unpacking and getting used to my new routine, my sister Molly, from This Life is Sparkling, is here to share her story. Thanks, Mol! Enjoy!

Hello, Perfection Isn’t Happy readers! My name is Molly, and I blog on over at This Life Is Sparkling. Oh, and I’m also Emily’s little sister 😉 On my blog you can find me talking about anything from food (specifically veggies and froyo), my daily weekly Starbucks adventures, my obsession with Taylor Swift, and my love for all things fitness.

I like to dress up and pretend I’m her. jk….kinda.

Today I thought I’d talk about something that may be pretty common among the food and healthy living blogging community: being a vegetarian while living with omnivores.

Two years ago, I made the decision to stop eating meat. It wasn’t necessarily because I had a passion for animals, but more for health benefits. I first became interested in vegetarianism after reading Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet. Although her book talks about vegan eating, I was still intrigued to change the way I was eating, although I knew I wasn’t quite ready to give up my weekly ice cream and frozen yogurt. Maybe someday though… 😉

full-fat ice cream=worth it occasionally 😉

When I first decided to become a vegetarian, I started to cook. A lot. I asked to make dinner for my family, and bought a few cookbooks to try out. I found a new passion of mine, and have loved cooking and baking ever since.

Everyone else in my immediate family eats meat. So when I started cooking meals for them, I thought this might be an issue. I no longer wanted to eat meat, so why would I want to touch it and cook it for other people? I knew that wasn’t an option. So what did I do? I got them to eat healthy, 100% meat-free meals.

one of my favorites: stuffed spaghetti squash!

At first, I’m honestly not sure how they felt about eating this way. There were times that they left the table a little hungry because they were so used to having meat. Slowly, over the months, they enjoyed the meals more and more (or that’s what they told me anyway… ;)) and to this day, all of my family, even my dad!, eats less meat.

My sister (Emily) rarely eats much meat anymore, and mostly enjoys fish. My mom now doesn’t enjoy the taste of meat, and when she orders it somewhere, she usually regrets getting it in the first place since she’s not used to eating it!

When I became a vegetarian, it was no way my intention to convert my family as well. They still enjoy meat sometimes, and I’m okay with that. I can say that because of my dietary changes, we all eat a little healthier around here and I have gotten them to enjoy a variety of vegetables. I’m proud that I was able to share my knowledge of healthy eating with the ones I love. If you have a similar situation at home, don’t think that your family will think you’re “weird” for eating a certain way. Who knows, maybe you can get them to start eating that way too 😉

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, does your family support you?

If you’re a meat-eater, would you mind eating vegetarian meals if someone cooked them for you?

Thank you, Em for letting me write for you as you enjoy your honeymoon with Jordy! I know you two are having a blast in Hawaii<3

Peace and Love,

Molly

Staying Sane with a Busy Schedule

24 Jul

As most of you know, the weeks leading up to the wedding were very busy for me — but you don’t have to be planning a wedding to have a busy schedule! Brittney from Brittney Breathing is here with tips for staying sane when you have a busy schedule. Thanks, Brittney!

Hi there Perfection Isn’t Happy readers! My name is Brittney and I blog at Brittney Breathing about keeping a healthy & active lifestyle while living life to the fullest. I started reading Emily’s blog because of our similar roots (I’m also from Indiana) and our similar interests in life (healthy lifestyle and of course…wedding planning!). With everything I have going on in life (i.e. working out, making healthy meals, taking care of my dog, planning a wedding, working full time, writing a blog and being a student, Integrative Nutrition, – it can become difficult to manage all of these roles and still stay sane. Here are my few tips on managing a busy schedule while still living and healthy and happy life.

1. Schedule your workouts

I’m a huge Google calendar fan and I pretty much schedule each and every aspect of my life, especially workouts. Every Sunday, I sit down and look at the week ahead of me. I make sure my calendar is up to date with any appointments I may have, if I’m staying late at work, if Ryan (my fiance) is gone, etc and then begin scheduling my workouts for each day.

I really enjoy group classes such as Body Pump, RPM, Body Combat, Zumba and Yoga so I look to see when my gym is offering those classes and try to fit them in. If there’s a day when I can’t fit a class I like, I try to schedule in a run or walk with my dog. By planning ahead and making my workout an appointment, I’m less likely to bail out on my workout.

2. Meal plan

Some people love it and some people hate it. I, for one, love it. Meal planning helps keep me sane and helps organize my day so I know how long dinner will take (aka how much free time I will have!). I love cooking, but I’m not the type of person that can just whip something fabulous up at the top of my head. I use Pinterest to pin recipes that I want to try in the future and also have a binder for recipes I print/find in magazines. Every weekend, usually Friday or Saturday, I’ll come up with a few dinner plans for the week according to what else we have going on in the week.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when we have a meal planned and then we really don’t feel like making it or we feel like eating something else and we stray away. But most of the time, we stick to the plan since we already have all of the ingredients we need. Meal planning also saves us money too…but that’s a whole other post :). I recently blogged more in depth on how I meal plan if that tickles your fancy.

3. Get enough sleep

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I don’t compromise on sleep. With keeping up with my busy schedule, I have to get enough rest for me to be able to function, especially during the work week. If you know you are planning to head to a happy hour one night and know that you will stay out late, try to get to bed a little earlier the night before.

Don’t feel like you have to attend every gathering too. It’s okay to stay in every once in awhile and do something for yourself. Sleep revitalizes you and helps you feel your best so don’t ditch out on it.

4. Prioritize

Really take a look at everything you are involved in with your life. Are you signed up for some things just because a friend asked you to? Do you really enjoy everything that you are involved in right now or are you just doing it because you feel like you have to? Life is short and there is no point in wasting time on tasks that you don’t truly care about. Everything that I am doing right now in life are all things that I choose to do. You just have to learn to say no to the rest.

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5. Ask for help

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This one is a tough one for me. I hate asking for help. I like the idea of being able to do everything and more for myself and others, but that simply isn’t possible. I finally broke down to Ryan one night once I realized I had too much on my plate. I couldn’t possible cook every meal, walk the dog, work full time, plan a wedding and do my school work every day. He gladly stepped up and has been making more of the meals and doing more of the cleaning around the house which has helped me out tremendously. All I had to do was ask!

I hope you find these tips helpful!

Question: How do you stay sane with a busy schedule?

Money Managed Easy

23 Jul

Recently, I have fallen in love with Joanna’s blog, Things After the Rings. She describes how it really feels after you say “I do,” and I can’t wait to keep up with her blog after I’m married. Today, she is here to talk about simple ways to manage money successfully. I know we can all learn from this one! Thanks, Joanna!

Hi there, I’m Joanna and I blog about life as a twenty-something newlywed over at Things After the Rings.

 In a recent post, Emily mentioned concerns about moving out and paying bills and things. Since I pretty much have a mortgage in student loan debt, I was motivated early to focus on my finances and have learned a lot in the last four years.

 Here are some basic tips I’d give to someone just starting out on their own:

 

  1. Budget is not a bad word.  A budget is a spending plan.  Take the amount of money you bring in each month, subtract all of your bills, and then come up with a game plan to spend the rest of the money including what you want to spend in the future (ie savings). Keep an eye on it as the month goes on. It’s that simple. 

 

  1. Never go to the grocery store without a list. You will spend a lot of money and not have anything to eat. To make a fail-proof list, figure out how many dinners you’ll need (think about whether you’ll be out some nights), make a list of everything you need for those meals.  Figure out how many lunches you need too and then make a plan for those too. Add some breakfast items, some things you can take for snacks.  You’re good. Happy shopping!

 

  1. The first year I lived on my own I bought breakfast and lunch multiple days a week.  Ugh!  I cringe to think about how much money I wasted doing that…hundreds of dollars, I’m sure! To prevent this: make dinners that serve 4. Pack the leftovers for lunch. Tip number two will help with this.

 

  1. Automate your bill paying.  You can do this through your bank and then you won’t have to worry about making payments on time.  It will be taken care of for you.  All you have to do is make sure there’s enough money in your account when the debits are made and your spending plan will help with that so you’re all set.

 

  1. Ideal mantra for your credit card: What happens in the month is paid for in the month.

 

    1. If that doesn’t work, and sometimes it won’t, here’s another mantra: always pay more than the minimum.

 

  1. This is a learning curve so don’t be too hard on yourself if your budget isn’t perfect the first time around.

 

  1. If you have debt, play around with this loan calculator to see how you can accelerate paying off credit card debt, student loans, or car loans. I just found this about 6 months ago and I wish I would’ve known about it sooner.

 

My favorite money resources*:

 

I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi and his blog with the same name

 

Dave Ramsey—I haven’t read any of his books but I love his radio show, especially debt-free Friday.

 

*I was not compensated in any way by mentioning these resources, they are just sources I highly recommend.

 

What are your favorite money tips?

What money lessons did you learn the hard way?