Travel

Happily Maui’ed

The family and I went on an impromptu vacation to Maui, HI to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary. Traveling with our children steered us in the direction of staying at a beach resort to have the comforts of a hotel with all of the amenities, such as an awesome pool area with slides, lots of food options, and a kids club. We found all of this at The Westin Resort and Spa Ka’anapali .  The beach at Ka’anapali in west Maui is one of the best on the island.  We had no plans other than to enjoy the resort every day.

The last time we were in Maui I was six months pregnant with Ume.  It was nice to be back with Ume again but as a six year old.  The kids had a blast at the resort from seeing all the flamingos, koi fish, and parrots in the lobby pond to enjoying the pools every day.  The weather held up although two hurricanes were headed our direction.  We basked in mid to high 80’s weather every day.  We enjoyed malasadas (fried donuts), lava flows, Hawaiian plate lunches, and the freshest mahi mahi fish.  It was an ideal vacation!

We drove once into Paia which is on the northern coast and about an hour a way.  Paia is a self appointed “hippie” town with the coolest boutiques to find unique souvenirs.  Other than the one road trip we just stayed local in the neighboring town Lahaina and around Ka’anapali.  We enjoyed running into random people from Seattle and got to share our anniversary meal with friends celebrating their anniversary on the same day.

img_9258 fullsizerender_3 fullsizerender_1

img_9297

img_9306

img_9319

img_9330

img_9360

img_9358

img_9216

img_9236

img_9245

It was great to spend a concentrated time with my family.  Nothing beats seeing the joy on your kids faces from being in paradise.  Hawaii is so magical and forces you to enjoy life.  It was a much needed vacation for all of us.

XO,

Mina

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Comments
Music

Gx

Oh my gawd!!! My inner 15 year old self completely freaked out last night because I got to see my all time favorite performer Gwen Stefani.  I waited seven long years for her to tour again and it was well worth it.  I have seen her five other times with her band No Doubt and her solo tours, but last night was my favorite concert. The compilation of her new and old songs were on point and the energy level was amazing. Eve as an opener was a perfect recipe to set the mood of the night.  Plus they sang “Let me blow your mind” and “Rich girls” together which was such a treat.

IMG_9089
I remember being a Freshman in high school and while my friends were all listening to gangster rap or boy bands, I discovered this alternative ska music that I connected with.  Gwen had this angsty staccato sound juxtaposed with soft melody and a kick ass band to support her that sounded so cool.  She sang about heartbreak, women empowerment, or just fun dance songs that reflected what was going on in her life. Over the twenty plus years in the music industry I have continued to relate to her music and I am a super fan!

FullSizeRender

IMG_9157

IMG_9104

IMG_9135

IMG_9142IMG_9131

I am excited to see what is in store for her future tours.  If you haven’t had a chance to experience her live in concert, I completely endorse it.  I was a sweaty mess and loved every minute of it.

XO,

Mina

 

Facebook Comments
Travel

Glass houses

IMG_8974

Seattle is a special city, a city that I love and can not imagine living anywhere else.  There are many amazing places to explore if you love nature, art, and great culture.  We are not just hipsters, coffee lovers, or tech geeks.  There are many beautiful experiences you can have in Seattle for any type of taste.

We had family in town from Ohio and because grandma is an artist and art aficionado visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass was on our must see list. Dale Chihuly is a pioneer in the art of glass and us Washingtonians are lucky to claim him as our own.  The Chihuly Garden and Glass is located next to the Space Needle in the Seattle Center so it was a perfect place to visit and sightsee.

It has been open since 2012 but I have not visited it before today.  It’s just one of those things that happen or don’t happen unless you have out of town guests, being a tourist in your own city.  It was very breathtaking to see the beauty of all the blown glass, unfortunately Violet was so mesmerized that she wanted to climb into the art installations and touch all the glass.  Brian and I zipped through the exhibit to save the ears of all the other guests.

For the most part we were able to enjoy and appreciate the amazing glass and the family got to spend quality time together.  If you live in Seattle and have not gone yet, I would highly recommend it.  You can really make a whole day out of it and enjoy the other wonders of the Seattle Center.

IMG_8935

FullSizeRender

IMG_8942

IMG_8946

IMG_8947

IMG_8961

IMG_8963

IMG_8973

XO,

Mina

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Comments
Family

Zero to six

IMG_8803

This week has been jam packed with celebrations because my eldest daughter Ume turned six.  We held her birthday party at one of her favorite parks in Seattle, Jefferson Park.  It is a 50 + acre park with spray play area/playground, sports fields, and an adjoining golf course.  It got revamped in 2012, so everything is updated and nice.

It was a free play birthday party.  I had activities set up for the kids to do as they pleased.  The guests got to splash around in the spray park area and run around on the play structures.  Ume has never liked the attention of having people sing her happy birthday and blowing out the candles so we skipped that tradition and let our guests have cupcakes when they were ready.  I was happy that Ume played with all of her friends and had an absolute blast.

I did not expect much change in Ume in one day as she became a six year old, however I was pleasantly surprised. That night of her party when we were getting ready for bed, she casually stated that she needed a nightlight turned on because she will be sleeping by herself now that she is six years old.  Um…is this really happening?  When she was born we chose to co-sleep with her, and when she transitioned into sleeping in her own room she has always needed someone to help her go to sleep.  Brian and I have been prepping her and impatiently waiting for the day that she will be sleeping on her own and it finally came.

She had questions on what to do if she got itchy, thirsty, or had to use the bathroom.  I reassured her that she could always come into our room and we would help her with any of her needs.  Then every two minutes she needed one of those needs met until she went through the list.  The last thing she requested was to know what we would be dreaming about and then my little six year slept in her own room by herself like a real big kid!  Six is going to be a fantastic year.

IMG_8783

IMG_8793

IMG_8796

IMG_8810

IMG_8809

IMG_8811

XO,

Mina

 

Facebook Comments
Travel

Summer holiday

Every July 4th – America’s Independence Day we spend the holiday on Vashon Island.  It has been a wonderful tradition to spend the day eating awesome bbq, watching the kids run around on the beach then later light fireworks, and have quality time with amazing people.  This day was no different.

We are lucky that Vashon Island is only a 20 minute ferry ride from us.  The island has charming shops, wineries, delicious restaurants, and impressive farm stands.  It feels like a real getaway even though the travel time is less than going to downtown Seattle.

It was predicted that there would be rain on this day but luckily it only rained a little so we were able to enjoy the beach and not be stuck indoor with all of our guests.  Once it started to get dark the firework show began.  Uemera is not fond of fireworks because they make loud noises and Violet was not that impressed either.  We still got to enjoy the visuals from inside the house because we have clear bay windows that gave us great view of the action outdoors.

It was a fun day for the adults, kids, and dogs; no injuries occurred and no party fouls.  My stomach was full with burrata, pinenuts, and truffle oil, which is my new favorite snack!  We are lucky to have such a magical place to spend this patriotic holiday, to celebrate everything American.  Cheers to the red, white, and blue!

FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender IMG_8707 IMG_8714 IMG_8719 IMG_8726 IMG_8732 IMG_8734 IMG_8736 IMG_8737 IMG_8741 IMG_8746 IMG_8752 IMG_8759

XO,

Mina

Facebook Comments
Travel

Roughing it or glamping?

Our attempt at a family photo.  Ha!

This past weekend the family and I went to Deception Pass State Park to join our close friends on a camping adventure.  I personally have not camped since I was a child when my mom and dad would take my sister and I on annual fishing/camping trips with their close friends.  The idea of roughing it in the woods does not sound too appealing to me but after visiting our friends’ camp sites during previous years I was confident that I would be more “glamping” than roughing it.  Plus my camping memories as a child are some of the fondest memories I have growing up and I want to give that to my kids.

Our friends made it to the camp site on Friday and we joined them on Saturday because Brian had an event he was producing on Friday.  Deception Pass State Park is about a 2 hour drive from Seattle and a coveted destination area.  The view is quite remarkable with beautiful lakes, mountains, and islands; and the campsite has amazing old-growth forests, simple hiking trails with close proximity to sandy beaches.

Thanks to our friends the campsite was already set up with all the amenities to have a comfortable stay. Ume quickly joined her buddies on her scooter riding around the campsite.  She is at the age where she can follow directions and has good safety awareness, so we can trust her to scooter around with the older kids. Poor Violet had serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and needed to be entertained by us adults.  We had a fun time playing at the beach followed by a lovely bbq dinner, S’mores, and lots of wine and whiskey.

It was a great time to enjoy nature, for the kids to disconnect from the TV/iPad, and for us adults to enjoy each others company in a different environment.  We spent time at the beach, got dirty, and the kids played hard outdoors.  Our sleep was not the greatest because we were outside in the elements with the birds chirping as our alarm clock but we did have the comforts of an inflatable mattress.  With all the terrible sadness and drama going on in the world, it was a good time to get away and create happy memories.

IMG_8573 IMG_8607 IMG_8618 IMG_8621 IMG_8624 IMG_8632 IMG_8635 IMG_8640 IMG_8643 IMG_8645 IMG_8647

XO,

Mina

 

Facebook Comments
Thoughts

Love is love


The tragedy in Orlando, Florida has made me feel so helpless.  Along with the world I mourn the loss of the 49 souls and send prayers of healing to the 53 who were wounded.  There are just no words that will reverse this hateful act.  Hearing the news and being consumed with the media coverage just left me feeling so many emotions; sick, heartbroken, angry, confused, and sad. All the families, loved ones, friends, and lives touched personally by this tragedy will forever be changed.  The rest of us in the world will also be impacted, like how 9/11, the Boston marathon bombing, or the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school impacted us.

Where do we go from here?  We will be inundated by many opposing forces having opinions on how this can be prevented in the future.  The powers to be will take this opportunity to create more divide in the country and use it for their own political agendas.  How do we keep people safe?  It could have been any of us that was gunned down.  This particular person targeted a gay club; someone else could target a specific ethnicity, religion, political view, any difference that they see fit.  All I know is something needs to change.

I don’t want to live in fear.  Fear makes people do crazy things.  History shows what comes out of fear and it is not a world I want to live in.  It seems getting rid of assault rifles would be an answer.  Would that many people have been shot if the killer had only hand guns?  The answer is no.  Stricter policies in gun control, more resources to the FBI and national security agencies, improved monitoring of social media platforms seem like a good area to start.  I don’t have the answers all I know is we need better protection.

Love is love people!  All I can do now is send all my love to the people affected by this tragedy and to the world.

XO,

Mina

Facebook Comments
Family

Pitter Patter…no…Splitter Splatter

Lately I have been trying to find new fun things for Violet and I to do together while Ume is in school.  The most recent place we have been enjoying is West Seattle Art Nest.  It is an amazing art studio for kids and their grownups to get messy while being creative.  Violet loves the painting table and can spend a long time working on different projects.  They provide every imaginable art tool from glitter, to hot glue guns, to beads.

She loves going into the splatter room where you can throw paint around.  There is also an area with toys to play with when the little ones need a break from creating.  The employees are super chill and great with the kids as expected.  It has become a nice way to spend the afternoon and also a reprieve from the blazing sun.

I am starting to figure out more and more the kinds of activities that really make Violet happy.  She is our tactile child who loves to get messy and explore.  This is a great place for her to do all of that.  It is awesome to get to take the girls to different individual activities so they can each get that undivided parental attention that is so needed to develop their self esteem.  Ume has her ballet classes and Violet has her random outings with me 2-3 times a week.

I am a worrier parent, knowing that my influences on my children are going to last longer than these singular moments.  All the interactions I have with them will impact their personality in their future, the whole nature vs nurture debate.  Sure, there are days when I want to just relax at home and not engage in any educational activities for my kids but I try to get myself out of that head space.  To give them a fighting chance to be well rounded people.  Ume always confuses adult with person.  I have to remind her she is already a person but she consistently argues, “No I am not, I am a kid”.  Maybe she is right.  Her person is still developing and it is my job to make sure both of my kids have all the tools to become thriving people.

IMG_8026

IMG_8015

IMG_8017

IMG_8018

IMG_8019

IMG_8023 IMG_8024

XO,

Mina

 

Facebook Comments
Music Thoughts

35 years and living – kicking and screaming

I never thought turning 35 would be such a momentous birthday to me until I started to fixate on the number.  Sure when I turned 18, 21, and 30 I knew those would be important birthdays but I never really thought about 35.  Maybe it is because after turning 30 multiple of five ages are an easy goal marker; or maybe it is because I am getting closer to 40; or maybe because I am realizing how lucky I am to be alive with good health.  Either way it is a great time to stop and really look at what my life has become and where I want to take it.  I sadly know too many people who have not had the luxury to get to this year in life.  It makes me want to appreciate the little every day moments that make my life great; like getting up and seeing Violet’s sweet face smiling at me, or being able to have a kick ass workout that makes me feel all the major muscles in my body, or tasting that perfect satisfying bite of avocado toast.

I made the most of celebrating by hosting about thirty of my closest friends with a show from one of my favorite DJ/producers Kaytranada.  From what I remember my happiness scale was through the roof and I was in love with all of my friends.  On my actual birthday I went to enjoy a DJ set from singer/songwriter/producer Hayden James at Q nightclub.  It was a more intimate group of friends and the music and dancing was so good.  It was cool to see Odesza there and the crowd went wild when their mix of “Something about you” played.

IMG_8190 IMG_8193 IMG_8200 IMG_8204 IMG_8211 IMG_8248 IMG_8253

IMG_8281 IMG_8296 IMG_8317 IMG_8318 FullSizeRender

Enjoying live music is my favorite pastime and it was the perfect way to bring on this new year of life.  A big shout out to my husband for setting up the party and for watching the girls last night so I could go out on a weekday.  Thanks to all of my lovely family/friends for all the well wishes, gifts, and the best hugs.  I am feeling really positive about what’s to come and I hope to stay connected with all of you.

XO,

Mina

 

 

 

Facebook Comments
Thoughts

Goals revisited

Around the start of 2016 I wrote a post about creating positive goals for myself and not having any New Year’s resolutions that I will ultimately break.  I wrote three short goals that I thought were feasible to focus on in the upcoming year. The original post is here.  My first goal was to buy a house by February. Normally it takes a while to buy the perfect house so having a deadline of two months may sound far fetched.  However, we were already looking for about six months and had a deadline of April because that was when our lease was up.  It was pretty challenging trying to find a house in West Seattle that had all we needed/wanted and was still affordable.  We really wanted a new construction because we have already experienced owning a 1915 Craftsman style house and knew all the work that went into maintaing a vintage home.  We looked into other areas but could not imagine living outside of West Seattle.  West Seattle is an amazing family oriented neighborhood with great schools, shops/restaurants, and is very close to the city. After prioritizing and rethinking what we actually needed in a house and thinking about our five year plan we decided to try to buy the house we were currently renting.  After much hoops to jump through I am happy to say we closed on the house about two weeks ago!

My next goal was to become a certified neuroscience nurse by the end of March.  That goal stopped being a priority in my career because I began a new position in April working as a RN in an observation unit that is an extension of the emergency department.  This new position has already awarded me with many great educational opportunities and I am gaining more skills to be a versatile nurse.  I am loving my new position and feel like it was a great decision for me to make this change.

My last goal that I had was to get desert body ready for the Coachella Music Festival in April.  This was an arbitrary goal because it was based on my perception and values of my own personal body image.  I worked hard at exercising a couple of times a week, going on detox diets, and trying to maintain discipline with clean eating, but that all went out the door when I went to Las Vegas in March.  I felt really good for my trip to Las Vegas but loss momentum and ultimately accepted my flaws.  I may not have been in my ideal body shape but I was happy enough to feel good in my skin and did not let that deter me from having the time of my life.

Thinking back on these three goals set at the beginning of the new year, it reminds me how fast plans and intentions can change even in just a few months.  No matter what my goals are for the future, there are so many variables that can change these plans.  I think what is important is to keep working on improvements, growth, and ultimately positive change.  I will come up with another set of three concise goals soon to work towards.

XO,

Mina

Facebook Comments