Goodbye
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Hibiscus
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Hawai'i
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I still wish that my vacation wasn't over and I've only been home for about 4 days. I had an incredible time and would love to go back!

Day 1: Waking up and leaving my parent's house by 4:30am wasn't exactly my idea of a good time. Ashley and I met up with Stef right about 5am when we needed to leave town. The drive down to Chicago didn't take as long as we thought and was relatively painless. Check in and security went smoothly, and after grabbing some snacks and a magazine we sat down and waited for our flight to board. I was already missing Adam at this point and knew it would only get worse throughout the trip. But I was kinda glad because I knew it meant I really liked him. We flew over the rocky mountains, which was pretty cool to see. I've been to Colorado and thought the mountains were magnificent, so seeing them from that angle was really interesting. I spent most of the flight listening to tunes and reading. Once we landed in San Jose, I was ready to eat! We grabbed lunch at one of the restaurants and spent our layover chatting and getting more excited. The flight to LAX seemed much shorter than the hour it took, and that was great. We only had a few moments in the airport before boarding our final flight. I was feeling like I was on cloud 9. It was real. We were going to Hawai'i! I tried to sleep some on this flight, which wasn't exactly successful. Finally, we had landed. We walked off the plane down stairs instead of into one of those terminals. It was neat. The moment the air touched my skin, I felt so amazing. It was almost 8pm (Hawai'i time) and you didn't need a jacket! I was disappointed that it was dark out and you couldn't see much. After picking up our bags, we met up with Nikki who gave us each a lei. We offered a ride to a guy we met on all 3 of our flights, and we were on our way! That night we met Nikki's boyfriend, Elvis. He seems to be a really cool guy. We went out for drinks and tacos at Oceans. It was delicious! It sprinkled a bit, and even though we were seated outside I didn't really mind. It was still warm and I was feeling incredible. Suddenly I wasn't feeling so tired anymore (even though I had been awake for about 24 hours!) We enjoyed a few more drinks and shots before heading back to Nikki's place where we would sleep. I slept until about 11am the next morning, and it felt great. ;)

Day 2: Nikki had to work this day, so Ashley and I took our time sleeping in and getting ready. We headed out in Nikki's car to grab some lunch and check out the main strip of Kailua-Kona. We had a delicious lunch and browsed most of the shops. Afterwards we checked out a beach and enjoyed the waves and sun for a bit. We even saw a sea turtle swimming off shore. We were all going to go out for dinner, but Ashley ended up sleeping too late and we just went to bed. It felt good to get some more rest.

Day 3: Our third day was beach day! Nikki had off of work, so she took us to one of her favorite beaches in Kona. It was pretty empty when we arrived, and the surf was pretty rough. Ashley and I had a blast taking photos and playing in the water. We ended up running into one of Nikki's friends, Pauly. He had a big floating thing that we played in for a while. It was a ton of fun! That is, except for when a huge wave came causing Nikki and me to collide heads. Ouch! I believe that night we went to Humpy's for dinner. It was pretty yummy.

Day 4: We had decided to take on kayaking and snorkeling. We drove down to Kealakekua bay after grabbing some breakfast. We rented two kayaks and hit the water towards the Captain Cook monument where the snorkeling is supposed to be fantastic. And it was! We saw many kinds of colorful fish. It was way better than snorkeling in Mexico. Some of the fish were even close enough to touch! I took a bunch of pictures until Nikki tried using my camera and it broke. Apparently she has a curse with cameras. Ashley ended up scraping and cutting one of her feet and it was bleeding a bit. Luckily the boat Elvis works on was nearby, so we kayaked over to get some first aid. After getting back to land, we headed back to Nikki's to shower and pack for camping. We also had to make a run to buy some groceries and supplies. Ashley and I collected firewood while Nikki and Elvis set up camp. Elvis made us all dinner and we talked around the campfire. I had never camped on a beach like that before and it was incredible.

Day 5: After waking up and enjoying breakfast that consisted of fresh papaya, yogurt, and granola we went hiking. Actually, I also enjoyed an extra treat that morning...I accidentally whacked my head really hard on a large tree branch! It hurt! And it was actually sore for days! Anyhow...We checked out some lagoons and headed over a bunch of lava rock to go to another bay. Once there was talked and enjoyed some snacks. After a bit we decided to swim out to one of the islands to see if there were any sea turtles basking in the sun. We ran into about 5 really big ones! You could swim right up to them and they barely moved. We watched them for a few minutes before heading back to the beach. After packing up camp we headed back into town to grab some dinner at Bubba Gumps, take a nap, and then head out for the bars to have a fun night out.

Day 6: Ashley and Nikki were pretty hung over this day. Nikki didn't even wake up until after noon. I decided to make the most of it and went for a dip in the pool and some relaxation. Eventually Ashley woke up enough to go out for dinner and walk around the strip. We had kind of a lazy day and when we got back to Nikki's we decided to watch some movies before heading to bed. Back home on this day, the weather was in the high 70s and there were tornadoes! I was so glad to not be there, yet I was nervous because my loved ones were. Adam kept telling me about sirens going off and stuff. We spent a lot of that day texting. I was missing him badly and he felt the same way. It was good to know I was being missed as well. ;)

Day 7: On this day Ashley and I went on an adventure around the island. We left Kailua-Kona and were headed south towards the National Volcano Park. Along the way we saw lots of cool sights from going up higher in elevation and scenic views of the landscape and ocean. We stopped along the way and snapped photos. We also stopped at a black sands beach, it was gorgeous! There were several sea turtles basking there, so we were able to get some photos with them. It was neat! After spending some time walking around the beach, we jumped back in the car. It was really misty at the park and visibility wasn't the greatest. The volcano wasn't active so all we really got to see was a lot of steam coming out of the crater. It was still really cool. We also saw some steam vents and walked though a lava tube. After we were done at the park, we decided to head to Hilo to check out some waterfalls. We grabbed lunch at Cafe 100 which was tasty! We both enjoyed some local favorites. Rainbow falls was gorgeous. Pe'epe'e falls was pretty neat, but we couldn't get as close. After the waterfalls we decided it was time to head back so we could make our dinner reservations. We took Saddle Rd on the way back. The scenery and various landscapes were breathtaking. The atmospheric conditions were constantly changing. One moment we'd be driving with bright blue skies and wispy clouds only to head into scary looking clouds and rain. It was so cool. Once back we had about 15 minutes to get ready for dinner. We were heading to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was really expensive, but delicious! I love steak. :P After dinner we were all really sleepy and went to bed.

Day 8: Our last day on the island. On this day we went to Waipi'o Valley with Nikki's friends Sky and Dan. Sky was really cool and was from Australia. He was quite the character. We took Mud Lane, which was a lot of fun but also scary. At one point it felt like Nikki's car was going to tip over! It easily could have, but Sky helped her navigate the road. We were definitely balancing on two tires at one point. Yikes! The view of the valley was breathtaking. After taking some photos, we headed down into the valley. People live down there "off the grid" and it's mostly local law. There's a private botanical garden and other farmers. We hiked to some waterfalls and went swimming under them. It was so awesome! We also climbed up quite a bit to keep seeing more of the waterfall. I really wished at this point that my waterproof camera hadn't been broken. Oh well! I know I'll never forget that part of the trip. After the waterfalls, we had lunch on the beach. We walked to beach and went crab hunting. We managed to catch one and take some pics. Soon it was time to head back to pack, pick up last minute souvenirs, and head to the airport. I was totally bummed. We had tacos one last time (they are so good there!) and quick made our purchases. We made it in great time and before we knew it, we were once again waiting on a bench in the airport. I really didn't want to leave the island, but I was really missing Adam and couldn't wait to see him. It was incredible how much I missed him during the trip. We had some difficulties with our plane and our flight ended up being delayed. The journey back wasn't as bad as I thought, but it definitely wasn't very enjoyable. Once we finally got back to Oshkosh at about 12:30am we were ready for bed. I took a quick shower and waited for Adam to come over. It was so good to see him and felt to good to touch and kiss him. We cuddled and slept in each other's arms. :)

Win
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Remember back when I posted about trying to be healthier and lose some weight? Well it's been about a year since I changed my eating habits and started working out. I feel so much better and I have results! I'm comparing my photos from vacation last spring to photos from Hawai'i this year. I can't believe the difference! And it feels so good to know that not only do I look better, but I did it the healthy way. :) I have some pics to show the comparison. I'm wearing the same suit so it helps show the changes. I'm stoked.

Before:

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After
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So Let's Get This Straight...
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Dreams
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Summer Vacation
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So I'm currently on my summer vacation from work. I was hoping to be going on a trip, but I definitely can't afford that. Perhaps next year? I sure hope so!

My vacation started Friday after work. A bunch of us were going out to The Bar for Nicole's birthday. When I was about to get into the shower, we lost power! There was a severe thunderstorm and I guess a tree took out a powerline on Jackson St. We were out of power for at least 2 hours! I had to shower in the dark and get ready in candle light. Lol. I had a pretty good time out. I talked to Becky, Todd, and the other girls for a while. Then Taylor, Ashley, Deb, and I played darts. Taylor and I went to Peabodys after a while to check out a band. I ran into Chris and Sabrina there. It was nice seeing them.

Then Sunday I took Hailey and Jason's engagement photos. I hope they like them. I've been working on editing them and making sure they're the best they can be. I'm nervous to show them!

So far I've just been being lazy on my vacation. I've been watching tv, playing video games, and stuff like that. I also went for a cruise on my moped earlier. I drove down by the lake and the moon looked beautiful on the water. There were so many bugs out though. Yuck! I really could have used a windshield or full faced helmet. :P

On Wednesday night Ashley and I will be heading up to Door County. We'll probably stay until Friday evening. I'm looking forward to spending time outdoors and going boating. Hopefully the weather is awesome. I can't wait to get out of Oshkosh and have some adventures!

Hello Again
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Much time has passed since my last entry and I feel like so many things have changed.

Today I started working out with the P90X program. We are having a "Biggest Loser" competition at work for the next 90 days. Winner gets a gift certificate to a spa. Not only am I hoping to win, but I am hoping to really feel great about myself and get myself on the road to where I want to be. I took some photos today like they recommended, not so pretty. But honestly, they could be a lot worse. I'm really hoping to stick to this program and to continue good eating and exercise habits. Ashley and I also joined a gym yesterday. I want to be healthy and happy, so here goes.

I also applied for reentry at UWO. I'm hoping to take some graphic design classes. I've always wanted to learn more about it and I think it will help me feel productive.

I'm very excited for next month! I'm going to Six Flags with my sister and some friends. Then there's the All American Grooming Show, which I'm hoping will be lots of fun with the girls and that I will learn a lot of great stuff. And then I have my vacation! :D Hopefully going to the Dells for a couple of days, and then heading up to Door County to spend lots of time outside and on the water. I am so excited! Life is pretty good.

Star Gazing
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Tonight Mika and I walked down to Menomonee Park. The sun was setting and the stars were starting to come out. Once we got there, I laid down on the ground and watched the stars for a while. It was so nice. I started thinking about how much I just love walking at night and being outside. I kept remembering times from the past and how I hope for good things in the future. I'm glad that park is there for me to enjoy and that it's in a walking distance from my apartment.

I love summer nights. :)

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