Monday, January 26, 2015

Maternity Monday

So you may have noticed that I have been away...because we were in Hawaii!!! And before I start blogging about our adventures I wanted to touch on the topic of getting pat downs by TSA while traveling pregnant. I had to get a total of 4 pat downs during this trip and here is my review of each airport.

Houston (IAH) - Very professional and the lady that patted me down had actually had kids and knew that the waist line on my pants actually comes up above my belly button. Grade: A

Los Angeles (LAX) - Awful! The woman in charge was a real bitch. When I said that I wanted a pat down she said to me, "this isn't an x-ray machine. Its a metal detector." I replied, "I don't care, I want a pat down." What I wanted to say was, "Are you a doctor?!?! NO, so shut the f- - k up!!!" Grade: F

Maui (OGG) - The same thing that happened at LAX happened here and the TSA guy told me that my doctor should have given me a lead belt for traveling on an airport. What made this worse was that there was another woman who wanted a pat down and we both had to wait for what felt like 15 minutes before I hollered at a female TSA agent that we needed pat downs. Grade: F

Kona (KOA) - Kona was professional since pretty much everyone traveling out of there traveled to there and know what they are getting into when asking for a pat down. They made sure that I knew what I was asking for and it wasn't a big deal. Grade: A

P.S. You can check out my Youtube page in the link below to view some of our whale watching video. 


{Hawaii Sneak Peak, Moloka'i}

Monday, January 12, 2015

Visiting Fun Events in Every State

A lot of people have New Year's resolutions like “travel more” or “be more adventurous”. If you are one of those people maybe you want to hit a big event in every state, something the state is known for. Yahoo! Travel came up with a list of “the most awesome event in every state". Check out the ones I thought to be fun below and click here for the whole list.

Alaska: Iditarod; March 7-22: Anchorage to Nome, AK
Just watching this 1,000mi sled-dog race through the Alaskan wilderness on TV will have you shivering in your flannel pajamas. It’s cold. But that doesn’t stop over 60 teams from racing their Siberian huskies to Nome every year, recreating a supply route that once brought reinforcements to gold miners.

Delaware: Punkin' Chunkin'; November 6-8: Dover, DE
What started as a typical two-beers-deep argument about who could throw a pumpkin farther has grown into the most celebrated annual event in Delaware. Teams compete in a number of divisions (catapult, human power, air cannon) and recent winners have come close to chucking a pumpkin almost an entire mile.

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Florida: Fantasy Fest; October 23 - November 1: Key West, FL
Fantasy Fest can get a little weird, as attendees dress in elaborate Mardi Gras-esque costumes, or costumes made entirely of paint, or well, costumes made out of nothing at all.

Georgia: The Masters; April 9-12: Augusta, GA
They don’t call it “a tradition unlike any other” for nothing. The biggest crown in golf is actually a green jacket, and it’s awarded to the winner of this four-day tournament held every year at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Hawaii: Ironman World Championships; October 10: Kona, HI
While triathlons have become the midlife crisis sport of choice for many Americans, the original and greatest race of them all takes place on the Big Island in October. Competitors swim 2.4mi through the cool Pacific, bike 112mi through the heat, hills, and wind on the King Kamehameha Highway, and then run a 26.2mi marathon alongside scorching lava fields. And they do it all without sending their friends a million of those annoying “Will you please sponsor me?” emails.

Louisiana: Mardi Gras; February 17: New Orleans, LA
This might be the only time of the year when a few strings of cheap plastic beads will get you a better show than a bankroll of singles.

Missouri: American Royal World Series of BBQ; October 2-5: Kansas City, MO
Boy, you win one American League pennant and all of a sudden they’re naming all kinds of world series after you. Or maybe they’ve been doing this since 1899. Either way, the top chefs from around the country descend on KC to see who’s got the best smoked meat, which you can chow down on while watching live cooking demos and rocking out to nightly concerts.

Nevada: Burning Man; August 21 - September 7: Black Rock Desert, NV
The music lineup is one of the best in the world (some would say), since people stay up for seven straight days/nights in primitive conditions to listen to it. Not to mention walk around with no clothes on, spend days with complete strangers, forget to eat, and then burn down a giant wood statue at the end before returning to the real world.

New Jersey: Miss America Pageant; September 13: Atlantic City, NJ
This American cultural icon that has returned — after a brief run as a Las Vegas reality show — to its rightful home in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. And it's always televised for your viewing pleasure.

New Mexico: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta; October 3-11: ABQ, NM
Before it was known for Breaking Bad; Albuquerque was most famous for its annual hot air balloon festival. It peaks with the launch of hundreds of hot air balloons all at once.

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New York: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; November 26: New York, NY
This is the one event a year that actually gets millions of people to tune in and watch giant balloons float through New York City

Tennessee: Bonnaroo; June 11-14: Manchester, TN
This outdoor festival is the only way organizers can contain egos like Kanye West, Jack White, Elton John, and Skrillex (who all headlined different parts of last year’s event) to perform at the same event.

Texas: State Fair of Texas; September 25 - October 18: Dallas, TX
Sure, SxSW would’ve been the easy choice, but does hanging out in Austin with a bunch of folks from LA/NY really count as a Lone Star experience? Probably not, which is why the state fair is the better move; not only does it switch up the syntax (come on, state fair “of”?) but also extends to almost a full month of rides, cows, fried food, and barbecue.

Utah: Sundance Film Festival; January 22 - February 1: Park City, UT
Since Utah is a state known for its open-mindedness and encouragement of creative thought, it was a natural choice for Robert Redford when he needed a home for this festival aimed at fostering the potential of independent films in the US. And it has! Launching the success of classics like Napoleon Dynamite and Super Troopers — meow.

Washington: Seafair; July 25 - August 2: Seattle, WA
On Lake Washington, a Friday night torchlight parade filled with pirates leads to a weekend of on-the-water parties, which leads to a Sunday filled with insane, high-speed boat racing and aerial tricks from the Navy’s Blue Angels.


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Wyoming: Cheyenne Frontier Days; July 17-26: Cheyenne, WY
Typically rodeos in a state like Wyoming are nothing special. But this is the biggest of them all, complete with a chuckwagon cook-off, carnival midway, concerts from bands like Alabama, and a daily pancake breakfast.

When Vacations Attack

Australia has all sorts of creepy crawlies that that you need to look out for...on land and in the ocean. One of my biggest fears in the ocean is sharks...I ain't havin' none of that! Well now the land Down Under has brought it to a whole new level.

Lifeguards blew their whistles to signal danger - but it wasn't for a shark, it was for an Eastern Brown Snake... one of the most poisonous snakes in the world! You can bet my ass would be high tailing it out of there!

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Read the full article here.
  


Maternity Monday

So I decided that I wanted to blog a little about my pregnancy on this blog...after all, it too is a journey just like traveling. 

I'm not sure why I feel the need to share but I think people take comfort in knowing that other people out there had had similar experiences to theirs. So, this is the beginning of our pregnancy story…

I recently listed to an audio copy of American Sniper and I like how Chris Kyle described how he and his wife got pregnant for the first time. It was something along the lines of, "… all we had to do was kiss without protection and we were pregnant."

That is pretty much how it happened for us too.

The summer of 2014 was when we decided to start to try. And like I said above, it didn't take much time at all. 5 days after my missed cycle I took the test (p.s. I also took one 4 days before my expected cycle and the test was negative).

On September 19th I found out I was going to be a mom…whoa!

How was I feeling at this stage, 4 weeks pregnant? I was feeling pretty normal; I had a few symptoms like acne and hunger. Also, if you had laser hair removal all that hair is going to come back in full force! If I had known that I probably would not have done it before kids. 

Moving on… Week 7… What was going on with me during week 7? Two words, MORNING SICKNESS! And folks, it isn't pretty. I ended up having to take multiple days off from work, was prescribed some nausea medication, and I was trying all sorts of anti-nausea tricks. I tried everything from ginger ale, to ginger gum, eating whole pieces of ginger, peppermints, you name it. The one thing that has really worked for me was the motion sickness wrist bands that most people use when they go on cruises. Also, another thing that has made me feel better was sleeping on the floor. Yep, that’s right, the floor. I made myself a little cot with workout mats, sleeping bags, blankets and pillows. While on the floor it seemed I was able to keep a consistent temperature, no hot/cold flashes, and I had less nausea. If I could have slept next to the toilet I would have...

Before I was expecting I had high hopes for myself during this time. I wanted to keep working out (previously I had been working out 150 minutes a week) and I wanted to be healthy and eat the right things. Well that all went downhill quick! The few things I could manage to keep down were carbs, at this point I had consumed very little meat and I could manage some apples here and there. And working out…well I haven’t really at all. I take walks when the weather is nice and I have taken a few yoga classes. I am bummed because working out gives you endorphin's and endorphin's make you happy (and happy people don’t shoot their husbands…Legally Blonde anyone?).

So did it get any better after week 7? That’s a big fat NOPE! During week 9 we made a trip to the ER and that’s when I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I could not keep anything down for 48 hours, even water. I'm almost certain that as soon as anything hit my stomach it was coming back up.

We spent about 5-6 hours there while I finished up an IV bag and had some liquid Zofran pumped into me. And once they ran my blood work, urine sample and I could keep down a cup of juice I was released. They gave me some paperwork which stated not to take anything with extra iron in it so my prenatal vitamins needed to change to prescription ones. And the ER doctor told me to take my Zofran medication more frequently. This seemed to help A LOT!

Today we are over half way there and we'll soon be parents. With a little bit of morning sickness still lingering and a 20 pound heavier belly I wish you a happy Monday!


See my previous posts about pregnancy here


Friday, January 9, 2015

How to Spot the American

When I travel abroad one thing I worry about (and my European friends say I'm ridiculous for worrying about it) is if I will look American. I don’t necessarily want to look American; I just want to blend in.

Yahoo!Travel has a list out of habits us Americans have that scream, "I'M AN AMERICAN!"

1. We’re the only ones wearing white athletic socks.
For real. Others around the world mostly wear darker-colored socks. In fact, according to Olivier Magny (French author of Stuff Parisians Like) in Paris, people actually find white socks offensive. Why are you looking at my socks? Mine usually are colored anyway.

2. We have superwhite, supernice teeth
Un-naturally white, perfectly straight-toothed smiles have “U.S.A.” written all over them. Ricky Gervais, the English comic known for his notoriously bad imperfect even says so: “Americans, they are obsessed with perfect teeth.” Whereas others, like the Brits, are more comfortable having teeth with “character.” I would NEVER trade my beautiful smile (that I have been working on since the 3rd grade) for teeth with "character"

3. We’re shocked by all the naked breasts.
America likes to pretend it’s puritanical. Europeans, Australians, Brazilians, etc., just put it out there more, what with naked girls in the newspapers and on TV commercials, and with all those topless beaches. We Americans are the ones staring at all the toplessness, looking slightly uncomfortable, yet fascinated.

4. We don’t care about the soccer match.
If there’s a good soccer game (or “football” as much of the world refers to it) on TV, in just about any country in the world, you’ll see a crowd of rowdy and very emotionally involved fans watching and cheering. Americans barely know when the World Cup is happening, and most of us probably couldn’t name too many soccer players beyond David Beckham (Does he even play anymore?) and Cristiano Ronaldo – and let’s be honest, that’s mostly because they’re adorable. I don’t know who Cristiano Ronaldo is either…

5. We say ethnocentric things like: “What’s that in normal degrees [a.k.a., Fahrenheit]?”
FYI - Only five countries in the world use Fahrenheit (U.S., Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, and Palau). So technically, “normal” temperatures are actually Celsius temperatures. That being the case, we should probably have an idea of it when traveling abroad. (Hint: Zero degrees Celsius is freezing – literally – and 32 degrees Celsius is pretty darn hot.) Just put an app on your phone, is that so hard? I'm one to admit I don’t know the conversion off the top of my head and when I see 19C I have no idea what that is in Fahrenheit. Honestly, I don’t know why the world all can't get on the same measuring system…it's annoying.

6. We clap at everything.
For example, you know how sometimes people clap when the pilot lands the plane safely after a bumpy flight? International folk say they just don’t get it. I don’t clap at everything, I find it annoying and sometimes uncalled for.

7. We’re obsessed with Purell.
“Why do you use so much hand sanitizer?” asks German Sophie-Claire Hoeller. We’re not good with germs or dirt (hence the more intense showering and deodorizing habits than say, Europeans, for example). Come to think of it, this American writer is often the only one with a supply of antibacterial wipes on group trips with international travelers. Of course, everyone’s always asking to use one when things get icky… I do have a small hand sanitizer in my purse that I carry with me all the time. But I only use it when there isn’t a sink and need to wash my hands for some reason - whether it's because the sink at the truck stop wasn’t working or I just dropped my dogs off at the groomer and now my hands smell of dog and slobber.

8. We ask for tap water.
Why is that so weird to non-Americans? “It’s simply not part of the culture,” says one Amsterdam resident. That’s true throughout Europe (where they often drink sparkling or mineral water with meals) and in other countries around the world where tap water may not taste good or be safe to drink. I do ask for tap water, mainly because I don’t want to for over the equivalent of $4 for a small bottle of water…

9. We’re the ones sporting all The North Face jackets.
The North Face accounted for more than a third of the outdoor apparel market by 2012, according to the New York Times. And the brand is just not as popular in Europe and other countries abroad with colder climates. There are some exceptions: Koreans have a recent obsession with the jackets – with teens actually ranking each other on the type of North Face they own. I only own North Face snow boots

10. We eat while walking.
In other lands, for example in many European countries, and in Asian countries like Japan, where dining is more sacred and savored, it’s considered uncivilized – or at least weird – to eat and walk. I don’t like to eat and walk. Plus in a foreign city with pick-pockets I want to keep my hands free and hold on to my bags.

11. We talk to strangers.
Ask a bunch of foreigners how to spot an American abroad and this is the one that comes up the most often. In fact, our outgoing personalities are often startling to more reserved types like Germans and Brits. Says one Swede, for example: “We don’t talk to people here.” Americans do seem to be more friendly and talkative then other cultures. I remember when we were on the subway in London my friends and I were chatting away and then we realized we were the only ones talking…

12. We tip.
Even if we know it’s not customary to tip in other countries around the world, somehow as Americans, it still feels wrong not to. But be careful – in some places, like Japan, it’s actually an insult to leave a gratuity. Hey if you don’t want me to tip I won't! Saves me some money!

13. We speak English. Only. And we expect everyone else to, as well.
There’s even a joke: What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American. Maybe we need to work on that one. Ah, yes. The sad, sad fact that they do not push a foreign language on us here in America. I'm not sure why this is but I only had the option to start Spanish when I was in 8th grade (so like 13/14 yrs old). And we only have to take a year of it in high school.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Weekly Travel Pic

For some reason I have been thinking about Austria a lot lately and how I would just love to go back! I would love to see this beautiful country during the Christmas season - the lights, the snow, the markets - oh, how beautiful it is!
 
Here are some pictures from a beautiful garden in Salzburg.
 
Have you been thinking of a favorite destination lately?
 
 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Where will I be going in 2015?

{flying over Maui and Lanai}
Where will I be going in 2015?
 
Travel wise we only have plans for Hawaii; call it a baby-moon if you will. We planned it almost a year ago (when we got back from Europe we booked the airline tickets). I know, I like to plan WAY ahead! But you kind of have to when you're using rewards points to book your flights.
 
{Mauna kea beach, hunu on Punaluu Beach, sunset at Hapuna Beach}
And on a more personal front, I will be taking one BIG step into motherhood in 20 weeks or less. I still think it's all a bit crazy - I am going to be a mom - I am going to have a daughter - whoa! This big event will change our lives, our perspective on life, how we travel and how often we travel.
 
What are your plans for 2015? Going anywhere new? Have any "firsts" planned? 
 
 
 
 
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