Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I wanna be a super model- The Florida Trip

Ok, not really, I'm definitely not cut out for that.
But I could seriously enjoy this as a hobby.

See?  Here I am, enjoying it. 

Florida was amazing.  It was gorgeous.
It was a whirlwind trip, SO fast, but it was great.

I headed out early Monday morning, and after flying all day to Fort Lauderdale (through Phoenix), we still had a two hour drive to our hotel after arriving.
It was dark by the time we got down there so I was anxious for Tuesday and the chance to see everything!
Makay (one of the Hapari owners) went down with me, and since we arrived so late we went to dinner by ourselves as the rest of the group had already gone.
I think our waiter thought I was nuts because for dinner I ordered three side dishes.  Steamed Veggies, Pina Fried Rice (SO good!  And not heavy like fried rice usually is thank goodness!), and sweet potatoes.  It was so good, I found myself wishing I could have eaten more, but afraid to take another bite because I certainly didn't want big dinner bloat the next day!

The other Hapari owners-Jill and John (and their spouses), the photographer and director all dropped by the restaurant as we were eating so I could meet them all.  It was so great to meet them!!

After dinner and our little meet up we headed back to the hotel to crash for the night.  We had both been up since 3 something in the morning and were feeling it.  And with needing to be at the shoot before 6am, we wanted a little sleep!

I left this sunrise as I was flying out on Monday

and was met with this sunrise on Tuesday morning.

It was beautiful!

It was a windy day so it wasn't optimal, but hey, you take what you can get!

Also, I forgot my sandals (what was I thinking?!), so I brought a little of the Wild West to the beach.

We started the day with hair and makeup.

And then started going through the lineup of suits to shoot for the day.

Did I mention Nathan Lane was there?

This is Lou-he was there to direct the shoot.  He was fabulous!  And he brought me coloring books and crayons so I still felt at home without my herd of kids!  Totally cracked me up.  That and he called me Octomom.  ha!  He was such a nice guy and a ton of fun!  It was really nice to work with him because he wasn't afraid to be candid and tell me what was working, what wasn't, and to really give me feedback through the day.  It was also fun to hear some of his stories of people he has worked with-a lot of big names, and it was funny to hear his thoughts on some of them.

The photographer was just amazing.  When I first stepped up to shoot I was so nervous.  Stiff as can be, awkward...oh goodness, I'm sure he was back there thinking "oh man, what am I going to do with her?!", but he talked me through those first shots, really helped me relax and was very clear about what he wanted to see, how he wanted me to move, all of that.  By the time my second round came up I felt so much more at ease, and apparently that was obvious to everyone!  It went much better.  He was great!

I was so worried that I was just going to be an annoyance to these people who are used to working with professionals who know exactly what they are doing, but they were all so good to me!  Very kind, very patient, very helpful and encouraging.

The day I shot was the day that the "plus size" models were also shooting.

I am short.

They were both fabulous.  Sweet as can be, and it was so great to watch them work because they were so natural!  It was like a switch flipped the second they stepped in front of the camera.  It was really fun to watch.

There were touch ups throughout the day, and true to form, my hair fell flat and went straight within minutes every time.  Oh well.

We had a break for a bit in the afternoon so I went roaming through the grounds of the hotel where we were shooting and where we were staying.

This is the deck of the cottage where some of the group was staying.
This was the view:

So beautiful!

And a few minutes just soaking it all in....

The room was awesome too!

We wrapped up the day catching the last rays of sun with some shots on the dock.
This is one set I cannot wait to see-once the hat picture comes up I will for sure let you know.  It was awesome!

While I completely understand that whole photography thing of not letting anyone see pics till they are done and edited, I REALLY wish I could have had a peek at even just one shot from the day.  Since I was rooming with Makay I got to chat with her that night and she *did* get to see them-she said they were great.  Oh, I hope some of them really were great!

The owners, director and photographer had a dinner meeting to go over the day and peek through what they shot.  Since they were all occupied I was on my own to do whatever I wanted for dinner and a few hours of the evening.  I debated heading out to find some little food place on the island, but opted instead to go with room service.  I took a long hot uninterrupted bath, ate a LOT of food, and just chilled on my cushy bed.

It turned into another late night as Makay and I chatted about this that and the other thing.  She was such a great roommate!

Wednesday was an early start too-she needed to be back to the shoot site early and I wanted to meet the models that were coming in that day before I headed to Miami to catch a flight home.

This is a stellar picture of me (note the sarcasm please) with Ashley, the other contest winner.

Girl is TINY!  I put my arm around her waist to take this pic and thought I was going to snap her in half.  She was very pretty and seemed like a very sweet girl.  But man, she is just a kid!!  I felt old.

And then there was Carla.  If you've been to Hapari's site you've seen her all over.  She has worked with them for years and she is gorgeous.  And her pictures don't even come close to doing her justice.  She is seriously the most beautiful person I have ever seen.  The woman is STUNNING.
I am going to share this picture only because it just shows even more how gorgeous she is in real life.  It is like the worst picture ever of me (little sleep, no shower, just a quick get up and get ready morning, and was I in the middle of a blink?  an awkward laugh?  who knows!), totally Magoo, but does this not look like I'm standing next to a cardboard cut out?

Totally makes me laugh looking at it!  ha!
And she was a nice as can be.  I would have loved to watch her work, I caught a glimpse for a few minutes and it was amazing.

Anyway-I had to jet out early to make it to the airport.  I was glad I gave myself some extra time because I hit nasty traffic.  And what is with the low speed limits in Florida?!  I am so used to big freeways with big speed limits, that the highways with stoplights everywhere and the 45mph speed limit just drove me crazy.
Also, since the shoot was over I had Chips Ahoy for breakfast.
I spent the rest of my day on planes and in airports, and had lunch all by my lonesome in LA.  This is across from me where Aaron is supposed to sit.

I was so hungry that I ordered my favorite Chili's salad and totally forgot to ask for it without dressing.  So frustrating.  But then I was so hungry I scraped as much off as I could and ate it anyway.  I don't understand how people can put dressing all over things-you totally lose the taste of the food!  Oh well.  After sufficiently stuffing myself I killed the last little bit of time before hoping on my last flight.  I missed my family and was anxious to see them.

It was a fabulous trip, a completely amazing experience.  I have loved Hapari's suits since I first found them, but love them so much more knowing the people behind it all.  If it's possible-I love them all more than the suits!  They are such wonderful wonderful people!

I am so excited for the new suits that are coming out soon-there are some super cute new designs and some patterns that I love!  It was so fun to see the behind the scenes of how all this goes down and just how much work goes into it all!  Such an incredible experience all the way around.  Truly priceless!

Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me and supported me through this whole thing!  I am so grateful to have had this experience, and it was thanks to many of you who rallied support in my behalf.  Thank you!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Hoping that your Christmas was all sorts of fun!  


Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Early Christmas Gift

Now that it's Christmas Eve, it won't seem early.  But last week we let the kids open a Christmas gift a little early.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guest Posting

I have about two dozen posts stuck in draft mode here that I need to finish-most importantly an awesome one about that little jaunt to Florida!!

But while I am scrambling to finish Christmas projects, today I will leave you with a Christmas post over at Conservamom.  She is hosting a week of guest bloggers sharing Christmas traditions, a fun opportunity to peek into the lives of others.  Today was my chance to share a little more of our crazy with the world.  Head over and visit Elia and say hi!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Heading toward the top of that hill

Last week was Aaron's birthday.
He is a whopping 39 now!  Does that mean that next year he hits the top of the hill and starts heading over?
Or does that not happen till 50 now?
I've decided the answer changes depending on the age of the person you ask.

Unfortunately we didn't do anything wildly exciting for his birthday.  Between school and work and Christmas craziness and me being gone a few days that week, it just wasn't happening.

But we wanted to make sure he felt loved and knew he wasn't forgotten.

So we drove to his office and filled his car with balloons and some of his favorite treats.

Next time around I know to buy more balloons, as there was still empty space at the top of the car.  That was not my intention.  Next time.....oh next time!

We juggled the families for multiple nights of birthday celebrations.  You gotta love the family shuffle.
The first time around he thought really hard about that wish.

Apparently by the second night he was really excited about it.

Or maybe it was the little ancient out of tune platform that plays a tinny Happy Birthday as it spins your cake in a circle that had him so excited.

After that night I was lazy and quit taking birthday pictures.

Next year should be all sorts of fun.  Hopefully life will be slightly less chaotic so that we can really do something to celebrate.  Hopefully.


Saturday, December 10, 2011


I've already mentioned how much I love Thanksgiving, but darn it, it's worth saying again!  I love Thanksgiving!!
There was more to it than my kids table.  Although that was still by far one of my favorite parts.

The day started out with pies at 6am because I was having too much fun with the kid stuff the day before and neglected to make them.  Whoops.

But really?  I think every day should start with pies.

The sunrise did not disappoint and was a nice reward for being up early to start baking.

Malia and her friend were running the local Turkey Trot, and I decided-literally 3 minutes before we left to pick up her friend-that I too would run.  Race started at 8, I made my decision at 7:30ish.  So I left the pies in the oven and a run down of what needed to be done till I got home.  What a nice wife I am.  (also-how wonderful is my husband that he didn't even bat an eye?  Awesome).  But hey, it was 30 something degrees this year, and after last years 3 degrees it seemed like a nice warm morning for a run!
We had a good time.

Despite my angry knee again I managed to hit a decent pace.  Not as fast as I would have chosen, but not too shabby.

After the race was 4 hours of cooking, way too much "testing" of the food, and the rest of the prep.
Loved the kid table even more when it was done.

There were plenty of people and plenty of fun.

It also involved randomness like a blue shoe on the table,

and at one point a dog on the table.

(Do you see that!?  I know-I flipped too.  But at least it was after we'd all eaten.  And it only lasted long enough for the picture to be taken.)

A rousing game of Bingo with Pomps,

that of course included fabulous prizes.
Like a tiara and wand.

Yes that's her hand sticking through the side of her sleeve.  She was bothered that it buttoned at the cuff and thought her hand should come out the side. 

Half of Aaron's family went and hung out in the other room.
(does anyone else have family that does this?)

But we did make them come back when we broke out Hedbanz.

Very fun game-the kids loved it.

Though the littlest ones had a hard time not yelling out "Oh!  you have ______ on your head!" each time we replaced the cards on the bands.

And you have to love pictures of people with things on their heads, right?

Even when the tough older brother tries to avoid the camera.

After wrapping up our crazy day, Aaron's dad sent us off to his new house (that he hasn't moved into yet) for a night out while he stayed behind with the kids.

A quiet evening, a ginormous jetted tub (that I didn't get a picture of-dang!), and watching a movie without was great.

We came home and crashed, with the alarm set for way too early the next day.
But the good part was that it was set for 2am so I could snag some of the Black Friday specials when they went live online.  I got up, traveled all the way across the hallway, stayed in my pajamas, and then 15 minutes later crawled back into my warm bed with my Black Friday shopping complete.  That my friends is the way to do Black Friday!!

Though it was weeks ago, I hope your Thanksgiving was fabulous!!