Sunday, October 4, 2015

Certification, Doggies, A book list, and yet another workout routine...

I have had a crazy busy couple of weeks! I finally got my certification as a registered PATH Therapeutic Riding Instructor so I was busy with that workshop, riding test, and lessons. I'm happy to say that it all went very smoothly (even though I had to have a horse change at literally the last second!) and that my class at CSU had me very well prepared for this workshop- it all felt like a lot of review. But I'm happy that's over with!

Amidst this stressful time period....the jeep broke down on me yet again. Twice actually. I was able to get a ride to the workshop luckily, but the second time I had to get towed out of a client's driveway. (I was there to their meet and greet so I could take their dogs that was embarassing to get towed out of their driveway.) Luckily my amazing company got me a rental car. So the dogs and I were able to hike with no towing!

They look happy in the back seat don't they? Man my job is fun. I have several regulars.... so my day is consumed with dogs.

Riko is also going in to get his leg looked at soon. It comes and goes with soreness, but as of lately he has been limping more than usual, but he's being a trooper and sporting his fancy new knee brace. But hopefully we can get some advice on what to do with his leg.

Anyway..... I've been car shopping as well. So it's been crazy busy as always!

Just had to post that I made an update to the book list including:
American Sniper
The Lucky One
Lavendar Ribbon
To Kill a Mockingbird

I'm also posting this link from Body! I'm always looking for new things to do in the gym...keep things from getting dull and keep using different muscle groups. This routine is really great, and after two weeks of doing it I have lost 3 lbs. I also incorporate different types of cardio each day (the stair master is the bomb,..) so definitely give it a try. Make sure the weight is heavy enough to have to work for it, but not so heavy that you can't complete the set.

Friday, September 18, 2015

5 More Things to do on Oahu...

My mom came out to visit for about a month and I decided I needed to blog about a few of the places we visited. She has done all of the touristy stuff (I have written about those on my Things to Do on Oahu tab) which include snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, visiting Waikiki, the Pearl Harbor Memorial, several beaches, and a lot of great hiking trails. If I forgot to write about a couple of have the idea now to go google them.

In addition to all of those great things, here is a list of a few other fun things we enjoyed!

1. Visiting Haleiwa

Okay so this is still touristy, but its a great little town. There is a bunch of art galleries and tons of food- Matsumoto's Shave Ice is a landmark. We ate at the Seafood Grill and it was fantastic (Bob's Pizza is also really good.) But the most important part of Haleiwa is the food truck congretation. My mom is obsessed with Giovanni's shrimp truck- I personally love the crepe truck. Something for everyone!

Yay food trucks!

2. Lania Kea Beach/ Turtle Beach

While we are on the topic of North Shore, there's a lot of great places to go to the beach. (Waimea Bay is popular, so is the Pipeline or surfing) But we really enjoyed Lania Kea. It is just a small strip of beach that is just past Turtle Beach. At the time there was plenty of parking across the street because a lot of people continue up further.

Lania Kea. There were a lot of people surfing and it was fun to watch!

Turtle Beach! Unfortunately we didn't see any turtles this time, but it made for a beautiful sunset.

3. The Coffee Farm

This has become one of my favorite places- I would visit every morning if it were closer. This little place is on the way towards the Dole Plantation. Inside the shop is coffee galore- flavored coffees, samples, jams, honey, etc. But even better is the little cafe that is always full of fresh coffee and pastries. You can enjoy it inside or out under a tree in a colorful Adirondack chair!

I look a little like a goober haha but enjoying a delicious coffee and pastry!

4. Visit Kailua for Crepes!

If you can't tell, I really like crepes. Kailua is a fun little place to visit on its own, but this crepe place is the bomb. It's called Crepes No Ka Oi- they have a crepe of every type and so many delicious teas! My favorite is the eiffel tower crepe (it's brie with apples, honey, and cinnamon. yum!) They have both sweet and savory options. Behind the crepe place is a cute little dog boutique and there's several shops close by. (Including a consignment shop where I tried a pair of $700 Valentino shoes. They were so pretty and the most expensive things I've ever worn!)
After our crepes we hit up the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and went on up the rode to Lani Kai beach. Makes for pretty much an awesome day!

5. Rainy Day Shopping

Since a grand portion of the time my mom visited it was pouring rain- it is hurricane season after all- we had to self entertain indoors. Which was no problem because the Ala Moana mall is amazing. You can spend a whole day in there easily- its huge. But if you don't want to battle traffic down town, the Pearlridge mall in Aiea is also pretty great (and has a few more stores in the affordable, normal people price range.) There's still a bunch of great shopping. I introduced my mom to the book off- most books are 1-5 bucks and we went a little crazy. Plus they have a Jeans Wearhouse and Aloha Salads.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Japan Part 3.... Kamakura Shrines

So I had to share my favorite part of the trip to Japan. We did venture over to Disney Sea but I decided to not post pictures on that because it basically just looked like Epcot. Lots of fun though!

Kamakura is an amazing area. It is brimming with shrines and temples- we only made it to two and I wish we would have had time to go back and see more. Pictured below is Kotoku-in, or the giant bronze statue of the Great Buddha (the guessed age of this statue is that it was built around 1252. Now THAT is some amazing history. The temple around the Buddha was washed away by a Tsunami in the 15th century)

 You can pay 200 yen to go inside the statue, but really there isn't much to see and its close quarters and BAKING hot.

We had lunch at a great little local place that felt very authentic (tiny little place, tiny little bathrooms, no english or forks. Lots of pointing at pictures!) But the food was delicious- I of course got gyoza and rice because that's my safety net.

Afterwards we visited the Hasedera Temple. I had to do some googling afterwards to see what some of these statues were about- I would love to see when the hydrangeas are in bloom (its what it is known for) but this is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. 

and then there's the boys....

These statues, I later learned, are called Jizo. They are placed by parents that are mourning the death of child, a miscarriage, or an abortion. In each temple there were prayer candles and offerings- many of them involved something pregnancy related.

This is the main temple. We weren't allowed to take pictures of the shrine inside, but wow, they were so beautiful. Inside is a statute of the god Kannon. It was actually refreshing to not be allowed to take pictures, because it felt like it really would have taken away from the beauty and the sanctity of the shrine. I lit a prayer candle for happiness for my family =)

The temple is built on two levels. Above are the shrines and gardens, and below is a cave called Benzaiten Grotto. It is a shrine with very low ceilings and is filled with prayer statues to Benzaiten, who is the goddess of the sea. 

We sat on a bench drinking cokes, looking at the temple and out over the water, and I tried to picture it like it must have once been. Now it's a tourist attraction with power lines coming over the temple, but it has seen so much history. (Again in the Kamakura period, around 1192.) I tried to picture this peaceful temple up on the hillside of Japan, completely remote and without people and crowded by houses. Even so, the energy of this place was surreal and definitely the highlight of my trip.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Today's anecdote on floor exercises, Bon Jovi, and Doggy-Doo

Before I finish up the posts on my Japan trip I had to slip in a little anecdote of a few things here. 

First of of the dogs I'm watching had diarrhea all night (He got into the wet cat food.) So that's been fun to clean up. Pinesol works great for the patio and baking soda works well for the carpets. Oh and Pepto is safe for dogs (not cats) in about 1 tsp per 5lbs. Now if I can just get the little guy to eat it that would be great. Maybe with some yogurt? I've been wanting to get a steam cleaner for a while now and I think I may be needing to get one sooner than planned! 

(Dog walking business is booming. I'm swamped with clients...both through the company and privately. But its not always the cleanest job!)

But! The best part of today is that I found out that my one true dearest love....Bon Jovi....has released a new album.

It's pretty good- he never fails to disappoint! But it sucks that him and Richie are still on the outs. It's definitely a softer rock album, but A Teardrop to the Ocean I and We don't run are my favorite songs on here. He's touring around in Asia right now (Singapore one the 20th. That would be a fun trip!) So hopefully he comes to the states soon.

Second of all....never underestimate the power of floor/pilate exercises. My mom got me this great book: (the author has a number of them)

Since I've been out of the gym for about a month and I'm getting range of motion back in my arm I thought it would be a good segway back. It's kicking my ass! I've been so focused on lifting and cardio that I haven't spent any time using my own body weight or small static movements. With enough reps they are a killer. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

To Japan and Back Part 2: Ueno Park

So we got brave and finally figured out the train we ventured on up to Tokyo on an impromptu adventure. We ended up staying the night at a crazy expensive Hyatt (but it was very luxurious. A hundred thousand times better than our place in Yokosuka! Plus we missed our anniversary so we considered it a post celebration)

Anyway, the first night we wandered around and discovered the Roppongi mall. (Roppongi itself was a bit sketchy. There were a bunch of Nigerian men selling girls and their services. They chased down my husband and said "Heyyyy leave your wife and we will show you a good time!"
Had I been drunk I would have punched that guy in the face.)

But the mall was pretty cool. Everything was very expensive and designer wear. My favorite store was a pet boutique in which everything was way over done. Little dog and cat outfits, jewelry, accessories, spa, etc. and there were those little cats with the bent ears and huge eyes in the window. Adorable.

 The view on top of the mall. Absolutely beautiful at night!

This little blue cat character (Doramon?) was all over the place and very popular. He had about a thousand little statues in the courtyard that people were taking pictures with.

And this was just awful. A huge spider sculpture. I got the creeps just walking by it.

The next day we ventured to Ueno Park, which is huge. There are ton of cool things to see. We had a long walk on the way there (and stopped at a Denny's. Which btw is way different over there because breakfast food doesn't exist.)

The shrine at Ueno Park was beautiful. We didn't have time to actually go inside but there were a lot of really neat things on the outside. This is Kaneji Temple which was founded in 1625 (unbelievable to be around something that old!)

 This is where you cleanse by rinsing one hand, then the other, then rinsing the mouth and spitting the water out. These are at each shrine they we visited.

 Prayers are all written on these. Very neat to see so many different languages come together <3

Our goal for the day was to get to Ueno Zoo, which is Japan's oldest zoo (built in 1882). I was of course most excited to see the giant Pandas. The breeding efforts for keeping them alive is not very progressive but people are working at it nonetheless! Ueno zoo, Hong Kong, and San Diego zoo are all participating in the efforts of preserving the Panda (which is pretty great because Tony and I visited the San Diego zoo on our way to Hawaii)

Of course the zoo was filled with typical zoo- like animals, but it was really interesting to see a much bigger variety of animals. For instance, the bear here is a Malayan Brown Bear. There were a lot of animals specific to Asia that you wouldn't be likely to see anywhere else!

A beautiful view of the park! This place was huge. We had a fantastic day at the zoo and only got to experience a little bit of Ueno Park. We made perfect timing back to the train station because the sky opened up and began to pour!

To Japan and Back Part 1: Yokosuka

Alright so it's been a while again since my last post...the blog kind of got pushed to the bottom of the priority list. August was an absolutely insane month! I finally had my mid deployment break down...I was so stressed out about everything going on in life that it was just ridiculous.

The biggest lesson I am continuously confronted with is that nothing is ever in our control. Just gotta sit back and let things happen right? Everything has a way of working itself out. We are now in the homestretch of deployment and I couldn't be more excited. The port call we visited was stressful to get to (the dates changed 3 or 4 times....) so three canceled flights, rebooked hotel rooms, refunds and insurance claims (thank god for travel insurance!) and one last minute ticket purchase later.....we made it to Japan. 

And it was so worth it. I hadn't seen my husband in 102 days and hadn't had any form of contact with him in 67. (But whose counting?) It's safe to say I cried like a ridiculous person when I saw him- absolute relief is the only way I can describe it. He really is my sanity.

After much needed time together and a ton of conversation (we can talk for hours on end) we did get to do some exploring of Yokosuka and ventured up to Tokyo. There is so much to see in Japan and I know we barely scratched the surface, but it was a wonderful cultural experience, and I have never felt so "american" and out of place in my life!

It was fantastic.

These are just a few sights around Yokosuka. The Daiei was across the street from the hotel which is where I spent a good amount of time wandering around.

This was a really beautiful park that was along the pier. It had a bunch of benches and a fountain and overlooked the water. A very serene place to be! 

I'm not sure what this is...but I pointed at the menu and ordered it. (I really need to learn another language.) It was some sort of egg and cabbage mix with a sauce, and then very thinly sliced meat of some sort on top. It was pretty good, but a little disconcerting when the meat started moving.

Not sure how or why that happened....

But this made up for it after. Boba tea (took a minute to acquire a taste to the tapioca balls, but these drinks are everywhere in Hawaii too. Seriously everything Japanese is squishy in texture...) Basically was like a delicious watery chocolate milk shake. Much more my style!

And this is the view from the best Starbucks ever (Our first sunny day! It was very rainy when we visited.) But seriously this Starbucks was beautiful. Two levels of comfort overlooking the water.

Which reminds me....McDonald's is an extremely nice place in Tokyo (at least the one we visited was. Yes....we went to McD's.) I was very impressed with how nice it was! Very upscale.

The one word I know =) Which is very ironic considering we always make fun that when the Japanese visit here the one word they know is "thank youuuuu". Turns out I'm the same way!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Somewhere down the fitness road....the top tips I've learned about working out.

Well it's official.... I've been working out regularly for about 6 months.  I go to the gym about 3-4 times a week and the routines have changed pretty often. For a while I was lifting weights every other day and running the days in between, plus throwing in some yoga or hiking, and riding horses. As of lately I've been doing weights and a lot of walking (thanks to my fitbit!)      (Sorry something is wrong with my formatting thing today. It is determined to center everything....ugh.)

 Anyway, when researching working out and fitness tips, I feel like there is always something to contradict what you just read. Some of these examples might be "Hit the gym hard every day to shred and lose the weight you want...." or "You only need to work out effectively 5 minutes a day to lose the weight you want!" "Bananas make you gain belly fat.." "Bananas speed up your metabolism!"
etc. etc. I have read a lot of fitness articles, magazines, you name it.

So... based on everything I have read, this is what I have decided are they key points to exercise and what I try to follow. My personal fitness goals haven't been to lose weight (which is good, because in fact I have gained weight from working out.) I don't necessarily want to turn into a body builder or anything, but I want to shape some muscle and just be healthy, strong, and fit.

1. Continue to change your routine so your body doesn't plateau. It's easy to do the same thing over and over and just start increasing weight or whatever, but you need to change it up. Try a different exercise, or experiment with different  angles (some times just changing the angle of what you're lifting makes you realize how not strong you still are. 

2. Balance cardio with weights. Only cardio will cause you to burn through carbs and fat, but you don't gain any muscle tone. Only doing weights will cause you to bulk up, but if you don't burn fat things will just look bigger and not more defined.

3. Speed up your metabolism. We have all heard that you should eat several small meals a day and its true. The goal to burning fat is to keep your metabolism active all day which you can do by 1. eating small meals every 2-4 hours. 2. work out later in the afternoon when your metabolism and blood sugar starts to drop 3. start the day off with cardio or going for a nice long walk before breakfast.

Walking in the mornings has become a new favorite thing of mine (and my dogs. They wake me up every morning so we can go at the same time.) We walk for about an hour or two and half miles. Even though I have met my running goal I still hate doing it, and this way I can feel refreshed by the time I sit down to eat breakfast, and I'm  a responsible dog owner as well.

4. Nutrition is everything. Sure you should probably count calories because you will soon realize how much you are over eating. But the quality of food is most important... Eat a lot of protein and lean meats with slow burning carbs (brown rice etc.) healthy fats (such as nuts) and make small changes. 
I don't drink soda or eat junk food and my body reacts very unhappily now if I do. (Don't get me wrong...I have no problem indulging once in a while with pretzel bites at a movie or with a thing of ice cream. You have to be healthy but you still have to live life!) Incorporate healthier foods, fruits and veggies, and try not eat things that don't come from nature. Simple. 
But remember it is important to cheat every now and then...then you won't find yourself losing control and binge eating all of the bad things for you.

I read an article on that put everything into a super complicated equation with how much protein to eat etc. and you can look it up if you're really looking to gain mass. What I took from the article was this:

Every other day should be cardio- such as brisk walking or running. Try to make this day low with starches and carbs, and focus on mostly fruits and veggies. The days in between should be weights, followed by  a little bit of cardio (such as walking up hill on the treadmill for 15-20 min briskly.) Start the day with low carbs, and post working out its time to over feed (yay!) Frequent meals full of protein to recover and build muscle.

5. Don't live by the scale. It will put you in a  bad mood if you do... Yes have a scale and check your weight often to use as a guideline, but remember that a lot of things factor into what it is telling you. Water weight, inflammation, time of day, etc. because your body is constantly working and changing. Try to check your weight consistently to keep similar factors (such as first thing in the morning before breakfast and no clothes.)

I would also take monthly pictures...because when you see results you like you know that something is happening. This has been particularly important to me, because like I said, I've actually gained about 5 lbs since I started working out. Normally this would cause me to totally freak out...but when I look at my monthly pictures I see things are shaping into how I want them to and I'm not just putting on fatty weight. (I always gain it first in my butt and hips. That's the tell tale sign!)

The best tip I think I have read was this: "There is no such thing as toning. You either have muscle or you don't. You either have a bunch of fat over that muscle....or you don't. If you want to "tone" you need to strengthen and build that muscle while equally losing fat over the top of it."

Sounds pretty solid.

So below are some pictures I've taken.... (sorry there's really terrible lighting upstairs and makes the pictures very grainy) The first one on the left is from February when I started this process, the middle is some time in between, and the right is August. When I first took them I was a little disappointed because I feel like I've worked harder than what I can see....but really what I have done is change my lifestyle to have way healthier habits and to exercise often. I don't have the dedication to become a bikini model (those women have serious self control!) I love to eat food and don't have the discipline to follow formulas and eat only a few limited things. (Thus I'm not ripped and haven't shredded!) But I have gotten much stronger, and though I've actually gained about five pounds my hips have gotten more slim, my tummy flatter, and I have more muscle in my legs, back, and arms.

Which is all I've really been looking for so mission accomplished!

Good luck to everyone and their own personal journeys with their bodies. <3

And please ignore my awful shorts tan line. Lordy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dog Nannying in an Eclectic Home....and Riko's birthday!

My thoughts while Dog Nannying in an Eclectic Home…

My job as a dog walker has been wonderful and entertaining- not only because of the flexible schedule and the adorable pets with a multitude of personalities, but also for a peek into people’s lives.

Not to sound creepy.

But it is fun to get a snapshot of what different people are like.
So far I have visited a variety of homes: people who are moving and hectic, a very clean military home with a taste for decorative beach items, a Japanese themed condo, a dirty and disgusting home with no furniture and itchy dogs, and now an eclectic home of an elderly couple. It contains collections of all sorts- hats, tea cups (so many tea cups!) dolls, books, native American heritage, and more! They are sweet elderly couple with adorable elderly dogs and several cute birds. There’s also noises of all sorts (all kinds of chimes from several different clocks, songs when you open the doors, a door bell song….its like being inside of a music box.)
I like looking at pictures on the walls and wondering about strangers lives and thinking about stories they might have. Everyone has a story to tell.

Anyway, so I’m here dog sitting, and decided I should write a tribute to my baby boy since his birthday is tomorrow! He will be eight years old. (oh god another clock just started chiming…) I have about a thousand baby pictures of Riko….but unfortunately they are all in Colorado. Regardless, I compiled a few- among thousands- of pictures that highlight our time together. He is the best dog I could have ever asked for!

So... this is the one picture I have on my facebook of Riko as a puppy. (I really need to get my hard drive/ photo album because I have thousand of pictures of him!) This is the day I got to bring him home from Colorado Springs. He shit himself the whole way home and long into the night....I had to take the poor little guy outside at 1 am and clean him off (he freaked out being alone and in a kennel.) Strangely enough...he fell asleep cuddled up next to me and there he stayed. 
(Ignore my braces. Holy moly.)

We have had a few good adventures in the snow as well! The other husky here is my friend's dog- they made a pretty good pulling team. And the brownish colored dog is my sweet boy Baloo ( he passed away several years ago now, but he used to love come with on our snowy excursions. He wasn't thrilled about Riko  coming home with me and taking my attention, but soon he accepted him as any grandfather is forced to.

Riko was a big brother to a few pups as well (the chocolate lab was my friends puppy. Back in the day!)

He has shared the home to all of my animal projects- including everybody I have ever dog-sat for since I was 15 years old, as well as all of my friend's dogs, service dogs I started training, and he often came with to dog kennels that I worked at. (So many dogs. Is it obvious they have been a huge part of my life for ever?)

This fuzzy critter is named Krazy, who was Riko's friend for a good part of his childhood!

This is his girlfriend Pebbles. I took care of her for about a month while her owning was trying to find somewhere to live.....he was legitimately in love with her and went through a serious bout of depression when she finally went home.

My mom's rescued dog named Marley. They are still buddies!

He took senior pictures with me.... (including candid shots.)

We have graduated high school together....

We went to college together....(we are driving off to Fort Collins to our first rental house. In my first car....

We adopted a couple more siblings at some point....

And we bought our first house that had a huge open space to run and play in!

He helped me get married and was my sanity through the wedding day.... and also took a massive poop in the guest house during the reception. Typical.

We have had some fabulous hiking trips and made lots of friends....

And now we live in Hawaii and spend time at the dog beach!!

Happy Birthday Baby Boy! We have had an eventful 8 years and I'm positive we have many more memories to make and adventures to have!