A Year in Review 2017 Edition

I said I would try to get this done before then end of the year and I did NOT get that accomplished. In my defense, it has been CRAZY here with family flying in and working my last few days before my wedding time off. However, here it goes.


If someone asked me right now what I am most proud of from 2017, I honestly don’t know what to pick. This year has been a rollercoaster of things happening. Let’s start off in the beginning. Cole and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary and that same week we found out we would be spending his shore duty in Hawaii. Learning that filled me with mixed emotions of excitement and a bit of worry. I was more than elated to be spending our first three years married in Hawaii, but scared to leave my family. The longest I had spent without seeing my parents was around 4 months and the farthest I had ever been, for any real amount of time, was 2 hours. So, moving to an island that was both distant and expensive was going to be an adventure. As of now, we are living in paradise and love it. Being separated from my family and living “on my own” with Cole has taught me an awful lot about myself. I have done some great things that make me feel like a true adult and I have made some mistakes that make me feel like a child again. We have battled with our garbage disposal, a broken washer, our car dying because we forget to turn the lights off, and so many other things. All of the things I have learned from living away from my family have made me feel stronger and make me realize that I am an adult.


After getting the news of moving to Hawaii, I graduated nursing school (in three years) summa cum laude and I am ridiculously proud of myself for accomplishing that feat. I worked my butt off, giving up summers, vacations, and (sometimes) my health to graduate early and at the top of my class. Cole was able to fly in for my graduation and pinning ceremony, making it even more special. We only got to spend a week together until he had to fly out to Hawaii and get settled before I moved out in August, but we cherished time despite the brevity.


The summer after graduating was filled helping my father build a cabin and studying for my NCLEX. My father and I spent several weekends down in Southern Indiana (Friendship, Indiana to be exact) constructing a masterpiece. This time was not only special because it was spent with my father, but also because I was able to better all those construction skills my dad taught me over the years and create one massive product. While it is probably bigger than it needs to be and we had some hang-ups along the way, I will never forget that summer where I spent more time on a roof than I ever need, a ladder fell out from under my father, and I learned that I can still sunburn under layers of sunscreen. Also, fiberglass is awful and I break out worse than with grass. This past summer I also went to my last (for a while) NMLRA National Spring Shoot (also the home of the cabin we built). This was a bittersweet time because I felt like I grew-up in Friendship and I will always cherish the memories that I have made there. I am hoping in the next few years I will have an opportunity to return to Friendship. Throughout the summer I also studied for my boards and visited my few friends in Muncie as I prepared to depart on a different chapter of my life so far away from everyone. I blocked out several hours a day to study, several more to play with my dog, and a few more to just be with my family and friends. Thankfully, in July, I passed my boards as painlessly as the NCLEX can be.


On the first of August, my mom, my best friend, and I all filed into my mother’s’ car and drove to the Indy Airport to drop me off. I spent 15+ hours traveling that day and I was officially moved to Hawaii. When I landed Cole placed a Lei around my neck and we collected our bags. Cole drove me to our new home and I was mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape. I left Indiana around 7 am but landed in Honolulu at 2ish that afternoon, so the sun was shining high. I was exhausted from all the travelling, but Cole made me sign the lease so “Yazel” could be added to our mailbox. I spent the next few months figuring my way around, eating delicious food, and making amazing friends. Since landing I have lost weight and gone on hikes I could have only dreamed of, all with my best friend by my side. Although there have been hikes I swear I hated,  every minute on the trails with Cole has been amazing. I have cut my time down on hiking Kokohead from over an hour to 33 minutes (we even watched the sunrise over the ocean that morning). I have made three  different running routes, and consistently shortened my times there as well. I have also mastered yoga poses I once believed I would never be able to manage.


Another proud moment of 2017 came when I got accepted to Hawaii Pacific University for Pre-Medicine courses. I am more than ready to start classes in the Fall of 2018. I know that at one point I was saying how excited I was to not have to take finals again or go to class, but I really missed it this past year (of course after I caught up on all the sleep I ignored during nursing school). Last year around this time I realized that I am not meant to stay an RN but continue on my education to medical school.  This is not because I think I am “too good” to be an RN, but because my passion and dreams reside in furthering my education and pursuing pathology. It took me a long time to realize that I am more into pathology and physiology than patient care, which is why I am choosing a different career path. Don’t get me wrong, I loved nursing school and I have loved the patients and experiences that came with it. But every step I’ve taken so far has merely illuminated a path for my future that I am even more excited to go down.


The final proud moment of 2017 came when Cole and I filed for our marriage license, finished all wedding related scheduling, paid for all wedding things, and began to fly in people for the big day! I am so excited to start off 2018 with our wedding, surrounded by close friends and family. Cole and I have dedicated quite a bit of time to ensuring that our intimate, no-fuss ceremony remains stress-free, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I have long thought that I wanted a really small wedding and after events of the past few years, I think it is all for the best. Also, what better way to get married than in Hawaii, on a beach, without shoes, and to your best friend?


While 2017 was filled with great things, it was also filled, with not so great things. This last year of our long distance relationship was hard, but made me even more excited to begin living together. We left our friends and family back in Indiana, and the saddest part, I had to leave my pupper behind. Several of my packages have been lost by the US Postal Service. I am yet to have an RN job (however I love my bookstore job), and I am yet to have a pet (but that will soon change). All of these things would have happened at one point, but it just seems like it hit harder because I can’t drive to my family or to the place I called home for so many years, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.


2017 also included MORE TATTOOS, I was able to watch my first ever autopsy (only reaffirming that it is indeed what I want to do), and I baked more cheesecakes (each a little better than the last). Cole and I went to several different zoos and Disney World for a 4 day trip. I was able to read books that I have been putting off for a while, I have spent more time on mountains than I could dream of, and I was able to spend Christmas on a beach. Cole and I got to spend our first Christmas together and exchanged cute little gifts. We got engagement photos taken and created a routine that only comes after living together. Cole has made me some delicious food and we have created go to restaurants and a bar for our friends to spend time together in. I got to eat sushi more often (because Hawaii is amazing). We were able to attend a Chainsmokers concert for fairly cheap and live in what many consider a paradise (I would be included in that many).


This is a short post, mainly because I wrote so much in my past ones. So I’ll end with a few goals for 2018.


  1. Marry the love of my life.
  2. Consistently write monthly blog posts for everyone and post more pictures.
  3. Accomplish my yoga goals which have been written down for personal use.
  4. Begin lifting weights (which will probably happen when I begin school again because I don’t have a gym).
  5. Hit my running goals and enter a 5K for the first time ever.
  6. Journal more because I have been lacking a bit.
  7. Read 50 books starting after I finish the one I am currently on.
  8. Hike at least 2x per month but shoot for once a week.


They aren’t much, but I am proud of them all. My goals are things that I want to do and accomplish for my personal benefit. 2017 was good (for me at least) and I am excited for what 2018 will bring. Cole and I rang in the New Year with Jess, Andy, and the kids last night and honestly I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This morning was breakfast at my favorite (Eggs N’ Things) and a quick apartment clean before my first friend lands this afternoon. Tomorrow the remaining guests arrive and I am extremely excited.


Happy New Year!

**The pictures below are in order by month starting in March because nothing really happened in January and February because I was in the middle of my capstone for Nursing School. People featured include Cole and I, Buzz, Woody, Rex, Myah, My dog Chip, a cute turtle my dad and I saved, Jess, a dog we got back to its owner, Andy, and the evolution of my shoes over the past year. **



End of October, November, December


Alrighty! I have been very bad at keeping up monthly posts, but in my defense, I have been busy. So, here is the update from Mid-October, All of November, and Most of December. My next post wil be my end of the year review that will be posted *hopefully* before the 31st.


I left you off when Cole and I had hiked the Norfolk trail. Soon after this adventure we got our engagement pictures back from the wonder Gabby Browning here on Oahu. I’ll leave our favorites down in the bottom of this post. I am *hoping* to create Facebook albums of our adventures this month for everyone who is connected with me there! Soon after we received those photos Cole and I went on an adventure to the place we had believed we would be getting married. After a recent call and some rezoning on the part of Oahu, we have changed the venue. Pictures will be in my next post. However, Diamondhead beach is beautiful and I want to revisit. Pictures are below. This beach is a hot spot for surfers and parking was full the morning we had arrived. I am sad that we are unable to get married here, but the new spot is beautiful too.

Also in October, I was able to accompany Jess and her kids to the Children’s Museum here on Oahu and they have a lovely human body display. It is honestly one of my favorite things to see children excited about science! They also had a wonderful Hawai’i display on the second floor and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. They were able to learn about Hawai’i culture and history. Collin was especially excited about the culture dress up displays. In the China exhibit, he got the change to dress up like a Rainbow Dragon and walk around. It was wonderful to see him so excited and learning at the same time. That same week we got to see the Harlem Globetrotters preform on base. The kids had a blast. Despite the expensive food and drinks, Cole and I also had fun. I had never been to see this show before and was extremely impressed by them. As many know, I am not a big sports fan, but this wasn’t really a sports thing at all. 10/10 recommended.

Cole and I went back to the Manoa Trail to hike the trail that was at the back. This time we arrived early to try and finish before the parking attendant arrived. We were unsuccessful to say the least. So unsuccessful that we didn’t even finish the back hike. It was beautiful. Cole and I carved our initials into a tree for the first time, Cole got to climb said tree, and I got some really good pictures and shoes full of mud. That appears to be the theme for our hikes. Shoes full of mud. Once we got back to the jeep, we went to a breakfast place I have wanted to go to for a while (mainly because of mimosas). Cinnamons is top notch. The pancakes were light, fluffy, and delicious. Cole got his usual Eggs Benedict. While it is expensive, it was totally worth it. They were pretty packed, but the seating on at the bar facing the Marina was free. They asked if we were okay with sitting there, Cole and I both said yes as soon as the question was asked. The view was beautiful. *Hopefully* we can have our brunch reception here. That same day (busy I know) we went to the Arizona Memorial. This was an experience I am so happy to have had. The tour begins with a movie that outlines the events leading up to, during, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor, which is immediately followed by a boat ride out to the memorial. The whole thing was beautiful and humbling. The oil from the U.S.S. Arizona is still leaking and the legend is that it will cease once all the crew has been laid to rest within her. If you are on Oahu for one day, go here. Experience it. Learn from it. Then, walk the museums and read the content. There are some interesting things that you won’t learn in school. Things I wish I had been taught to better understand what had happened to get us to that point. I didn’t take very many pictures, but I didn’t need too.

The next week, Cole and I did Koko-head stairs again. My time was better and I was more pleased with my ability to steadily climb to the bridge. However, I still died for the second half of the climb. After, we went to the Manoa Café and I have never had better coffee in my life. The pancakes were superb and apparently the Eggs Benedict was great too. I wouldn’t know, I was too focused on my pancakes and coffee.  Cole and I stayed in on Halloween to do a Ghostbusters marathon while ignoring the children running the halls of our apartment complex. It was a cozy night in and a great tradition for us to begin.


We started this month with a DATE NIGHT! Cole really wanted to try a Brewery called Honolulu Beerworks. The food was delicious and Cole got a (apparently delicious) flight of beer. They brew it there. We went for a Pumpkin beer they had advertised, but sadly ran out of the same night. Cole settled for a variety of new drinks. We were also able to sit at a “bar” that was facing the street and gorgeous mural work in downtown Honolulu. After we had eaten, Cole took me out for Ice Cream at a cute little shop in the SALT shopping area (same place Jess and I went for Morning Brew Coffee and lunch).

November only had two total hikes. The first hike was more like five crammed into one. I was unaware of the true extent of the hike. Cole had an idea but neither of us was truly ready for what the hike entailed. Both of us were convinced that we could get through all of it with minimal complications. We started the hike at 5:30 in the morning and a sign stating pig hunting was something that occurred in the area. The hike consisted of two distinct in and out trails that *could* be connected by a ridge line if the hikers were willing. We had intended on starting up the West loop but after being unable to find it in the dark, we went up the East loop. This was a fun little in the woods and up several switch back hikes. Cole and I took our time by not taking the little shortcuts offered and spending time climbing a tree (my first in several years). We were passed by some but overall kept a good pace until the stairs. I hate stairs. However, the view at the top of all those stairs was rewarding. We were able to get above the cloud layer (a personal goal of Coles) and experience some great pictures. After we reached the top of the East loop, we looked at the map and what was ahead of us. It didn’t look too far and we could only see several peaks we would have to climb, we made the decision to do the loop. The first bit was alright. The wind was annoying and the clouds made it hard to see very far in front of us. But, the trail was there for a while and ropes were in place to help us up. Having climbed for about 2.5 hours already, we had guessed that the “loop” portion would be and hour and a half tops. It was more like 2.5 hours of me thinking I was going to die. The ridge line was longer with way more peaks than we had originally anticipated. There were portions where we had to walk along a path that was a foots width with drop offs on both sides in high winds and rain (because we were in the cloud layer). The further we got, the less clear the path was. By the time we sat down and admitted we shouldn’t have done this portion, we were (according to the map) already over half way through the loop (and somehow still on track with cellphone signal). We decided to keep going rather than turn back. There were more ropes and mud and sliding and slipping and falling. I was left with many bruises and blisters on my feet. After we got below the cloud layer and the rain had stopped, I once again felt like I wasn’t going to die. Per directions given by a hiker we had passed on the East loop, we had found the West trail and were on our way down. We finally made the last left turn and went down a very steep hill coated in dead pine needles, we came out onto the road. We came out covered from head to toe in mud, exhaustion, and extreme hunger. It was, in total, six hours. I took more pictures of the beginning and very few of the end. By the last half I only was more focused on getting out and getting food than pictures. We stumbled back to the jeep with many strange looks. We then rushed home, showered, changed, and went to Teddy’s for some well-deserved burgers and fries. At home we both fell into a food coma and napped until hunger awoke us and dinner was required. We were both down and out for several days. Instead of running that Monday, I walked.

That week I got hired on at Barnes and Noble. Thankfully I was able to take Coles birthday off so we could have a day together. It was filled with a light and easy hike of the Pink Pillboxes. The pictures are below and it was one of my favorite hikes. We went to My Café for breakfast and celebrated that night with a Reese’s Cup Cheesecake made by yours truly. That night, Jess and Andy took us out to Aloha Brewing Company and then Karaoke. That night was lovely and we are both blessed to have friends like Jess and Andy to have shared it with us!

The rest of November was pretty relaxed. Cole and I went on another date night for Mexican food, I focused on my Yoga practice and Thanksgiving was spent with Jess and Andy. I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake just for the occasion and Jess made a delicious meal (I honestly don’t know how she does it). We have been invited back for Christmas eve dinner and I am super excited!


Cole and I began December with a hike. This one was promised to be short and brunch had also been promised. We had a birthday party for Collin that afternoon and I had to go to work that evening. This hike was not short. In fact the hike we did was not the hike we had set out to do, but another more challenging in and out hike. It reminded me of the six hour hike, however it was easier and less deadly. The view was amazing and Cole had invited a friend from work to join us. This hike was much longer than intended (more like five hours rather than two) and I was starving by the end. Once we made down, Cole and I rushed home and showered. We then went to the birthday party and ate all food in sight. It was great because we had arrived after everyone else had left and there was still an abundance of food for us to devour. We stayed to help clean up and I headed off to work. After closing the store, I joined the group at our usual bar for Karaoke. Once we finally got home, we found that someone had messed with the jeep and turned the lights and windshield wipers on while we were away, which killed the battery. Needless to say, we spent the night on the couch at Jess and Andy’s.

Cole and I only did one other real hike this month and that was Judd trail. It was a nice and easy hike to do after several weeks off. The pictures are below and they are adorable. I can’t wait to take family here.

The rest of December has been filled with little things such as more working for me, a night out with Jess and the family for some hibachi. We attended a Christmas parade for the kids. It was interesting as I have never been to a winter parade while wearing a tank top, but Hawai’i I guess. The kids had a blast and I was able to eat a delicious burger and fries.

More recently, Cole and I went to see the new Start Wars movie and then get BBQ at this cute little place next to the theater. We got to cook our own meat and it was a lovely date night. Tomorrow we are doing Koko head again and I can hopefully complete it in under 45 minutes and *hopefully* we can catch the sunrise! I also was accepted to HPU for the Fall semester of 2018 for the Post Baccalaureate Pre-Med certification program! I am so excited to begin school again (I actually kind of missed it). To occupy my time I have been reading several books including The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee (which I HIGHLY recommend).  All the pictures are below. I hope you enjoy them! Let me know if you want more in my Yearly review post coming up *hopefully* this next week!

Carly love at jess and Andy’s.
Rainbow Dragon at the Children’s Museum.
Globetrotters doing the Lion King.
Waterfall selfie on the Maona Trail.
Cole climbing on the Maona Trial.
Cole climbing on the Maona Trail.
Cinnamon’s food. Delicious.
Spiderman kiss Engagement Photo
Engagement Photo
Engagement Photo
Eggs Benedict from Maona Cafe
Strawberry Whip Pancakes from Maona Cafe.
Ghost Coffee that was delicious from Maona Cafe.
Pink Pillbox graffiti.
Pink Pillboxes
Coles birthday cheesecake
Teddy’s treat.
View from the West end of the death hike
View from the 6 hour death hike.
The last down from the 6 hour hike. It was a bit treacherous.
Probably my favorite picture of Cole and I ever on that 6 hour hike before the ridgeline.
Cole Climbing on the 6 hour ridge hike before death.
Ice Cream Date night
Honolulu Beerworks
Graffiti in Downtown Honolulu
Cole on the Pink Pillboxes
Much better graffiti on the Pink Pillboxes
Water from the Pink Pillboxes
Graffiti on the Pink Pillboxes.
View from the Pink Pillboxes
Tree of Life on the Pink Pillbox trail.
Diamondhead beach
Diamondhead beach
Diamondhead beach
Diamondhead beach
Judd trail beauty
That one hike that was supposed to be 2 hours and ended up 5
Hibachi date night
That one hike
That one hike. I was FREEZING by the way.
Our little Christmas tree.
Coles reaction to me placing Collins sticker on him.
The stockings I made for Cole and I. Honestly so proud of how cute these are. And yes, those are little pineapples.
Ready for Judd.
We found this little nest on the little plant in the middle of Judd trail.
Little nest.
A view into another world found at the beginning of Judd trail. Nature is truly wonderful.

September through Mid-October 2017

Okay, I have been kind of missing for the past month and a half. Nevertheless, here is my September and Mid-October Update!

Cole and I were fairly active in September despite being ill and fighting my newfound Hawaii allergies. Cole and I have been settling into living together and have mastered the once monthly shopping for food near the end of September. As it turns out, Costco is literally the best invention ever.  We have large amounts of non-perishables filling our one pantry cabinet and our freezer is stocked full, but hey, we only have to brave the store one time a month. We have also settled into a weekly routine with our new besties. Cole goes to work every weekday and I wake up early to run. Since I only recently got my HI RN license, I spend my days cleaning the apartment, baking desserts, and reading my numerous books. I have sent out several applications and am still awaiting answers. I just scheduled my ACLS class, which should help speed up my application processes and hopefully get me into a job soon. We have settled into our small apartment and have sold/given away most of the things we find that we no longer need. I still have to clean up and organize the spare room (hopefully soon so when Kayleigh and Mitch come they aren’t sleeping on boxes!) but other than that, everything else is pretty well in its’ place!

Cole and I either hike on Fridays, if he has work off, or Saturdays. In this past month and a half we have done several hikes. All pictures will be at the end with captions like the August post. Then, depending on when we hike, our group of friends goes out or stays in. Sundays are spent at Jess and Andy’s home watching football at 7 a.m. Yes, 7 in the morning. Needless to say, I sleep through most of it. We had a Karaoke Bar that we had gone to almost every weekend, but they closed on the last night of September. This forced us to find another Bar for Andy to sing his heart out. After a night of searching, we found an acceptable place. Aside from Karaoke Bars, we have popped into some other places. “The Duck Butt” was a personal favorite. While we didn’t stay long, they had an interesting vibe and I am hoping we go back in the future. We also attended an Oktoberfest and Eat the Street, which was nice if you are a beer fan. Our little group has stopped in on a couple Dive Bars and one really good Gastro Pub that is closed until 2018.

Outside of our group, Jess and I have been hanging out frequently. She was kind enough to take me to my wedding dress fitting and out to lunch on different occasions. Let’s be honest, I am bored sitting at home all day waiting for Cole to get home to talk to someone. Jess is an amazing friend and I am immensely grateful to have her! We also had the chance to head to the Children’s Museum with her kids this past week while they were on Fall Break. Occasionally the kids will come to our apartment’s pool (because it goes WAY deeper than the one in the Military Housing) and we have been to the beach several times. I am getting a tan (I know it seems impossible). I call my family once a week and keep in touch via text almost every day. I have to admit and I am a bit homesick and it is odd not being at the Historical Shows this fall. I really enjoy all the pictures my dad posts of home and activities.

Okay, now onto the fun stuff, the hikes, the beaches, and the food! We have done several. China Mans Hat was the first, I believe. This was an adorable little climb more than a hike. We had to kayak out to this little island and then climbed to the top and got some amazing pictures. One the way down, Cole became a monkey and climbed into a tree because, why not. On the kayak trip back to the beach we stopped out in the middle to snorkel a bit. I wish I had pictures of this, but my life proof case is no longer waterproof. You’ll just have to take my word that it is pretty beautiful.

The next hike was Diamondhead. Cole and I did this one by ourselves for reasons I don’t remember. Diamondhead is very commercialized compared to the other hikes that we have done. The views from the pillboxes were still amazing, just crowded. Yes, Cole and I became monkeys again, climbing on top for a slightly less crowded view. This hike was mainly a trail zig zag up a hill with some stairs and tunnels spread about. After this hike, we went to a new Café called Sweet E’s Café. I had stuffed French Toast and Cole had is Eggs Benedict (he is trying to find the best on the Island).  This was an amazing choice for breakfast. That afternoon we headed to a small public beach and got to see a seal! We just floated about for a few hours with Jess, Andy, and the kids until the kids were done.

The next hike was delayed a week because of rain, which only seems to happen when we are planning on doing something outdoors or on Sundays. Koko Head is my worst nightmare. It is steps and steps and steps and steps up to pillboxes. They are old railroad ties up to the top. I was dying. My cardio may be okay, but dear Lord I was not having a good day. I drank through all our water on the way up. The view was WAY worth it. Going down, while less work, it was pretty hard. The steps aren’t steps like you think of going up stairs. They are steps going up a hill and not all that easy. I had to go down in a sideways manner while trying to stay out of the way of people going up or down much faster than I. When we were about three quarters of the way down, a group of very well fit men and a few women were running up. I could barely walk up and they were running. Cole and I have agreed to do this particular hike once a month. In preparation for Octobers climb, I have started to add stairs after my running. Next time I will bring my music and more water and we will start earlier in the morning. My goal is to reach the top without stopping and in under an hour. At the top, Cole wanted to be a monkey, but I wouldn’t let him. It was too risky so we just walked around, took pictures, added our own prayer to a prayer box, and got our breath back.

The next week we did a different type of hike. The kind through the woods. My favorite kind of hike. We weren’t supposed to do the Norfolk Trail, but the one we had planned was one we had done before, just a different name. This trail was really neat. In the woods there are different paths to take once to climb the main one. It broke into Anne’s, Back to Big Tree, Big Tree Drop Off, and Mimi’s. The trails were marked by carvings in tree roots, rakes planted throughout, ribbons, or stacked rocks. Cole and I had the opportunity to see some REALLY OLD trees and I felt more at home than ever. Getting back into a woods is something I didn’t know I needed until I was in it. We spent about an hour or more in the woods and only got to do BTBT and Drop Off before we headed back. Afterwards we headed to Morning Brew, my new favorite coffee shop and Cole took me to a resale bookstore! Honestly, I don’t know how I got so lucky! Earlier in September we got to go to Barnes and Noble to get a book for one of Jess’s kids birthday and Cole treated me to one book then! This resale store has my favorite section and they are way cheaper too! I was able to get two books for the price of one at Barnes and Noble. Cole also got a trilogy that he has been trying to find.

The next day we went and got our engagement photos done on, you guessed it, another hike! This was the Moana Trail and it is gorgeous. You’ll have to wait for pictures just like we do! We were going to go to a little place for brunch but the wait time was too long, so we settled for Teddys’ Bigger Burgers. That afternoon we were supposed to go to the beach, but I fell asleep pretty soon after getting home. Then on Monday of that week (Columbus Day/Discovers Day/Indigenous People’s Day) Cole was fortunate enough to have the day off. We went to scope out the beach we are getting married on and found the spot we want to tie the knot at! We were also supposed to go hiking this weekend, but SOMEONE left the Jeep lights on for 4 days and it had died. We just stayed in all weekend with Jess and Andy, relaxing.

Other than the restaurants listed above, Cole and I have went to several others. My Café is amazing and has delicious Malasada Pancakes, Eggs Benedicts, and Coffee. If it was closer and less busy I would go there every day.  Koa Pancake House has wonderful French Toast, but not too fantastic Eggs Benedict. Pancakes and Waffles did have really good waffles. We also went back to Eggs N Things because, Whipped Cream topped Pancakes. Cole and I have also tried a Pad Thai place near the apartment, Soon’s BBQ (which is close enough to us to be dangerous), and sushi. However, I am in LOVE with the breakfast food here. Cole has also become an amazing cook! Pretty much all week days we eat in. Cole is now great at making rice and pretty much all of my requests. I continue to bake desserts that delight him (to the extent he won’t let me take the over to Jess and Andy’s). I continue to run and some days I walk to enjoy the fact that I live in a beautiful state. The flowers here are always in bloom it seems and fall is different than the type I am used to. I also got a library card! This was a lot, but I hope you enjoy these pictures!

Hawaii is super pretty.
Group photo at China Man.
Looking back on Oahu from China Mans Hat. We snorkled in that water! It was fairly clear.
Beautiful view from the top of China Man.
Andy and I looking down on Jess and Cole while climbing China Mans Hat.
Cole being a monkey.
Who doesn’t need more sunset photos?
My Cafe has lovely coffee mugs.
My cafe Malasada Pancakes.
Koa Pancake House French Toast.
Pancakes and Waffles Eggs Benedict.

Sweet E’s delicious French Toast.
What better way to spend an afternoon?
Look from top of Diamondhead.
The first set of stairs that lead into a tunnel.
Inside a pillbox while climbing a spiral staircase there were these little offshoots. Most were blocked off.
Looking out of a pillbox to the ocean.
On top of one of the pillboxes after we kept getting in the way of others pictures.
View from top of Diamondhead

Start of Koko. I already wanted to die.
Bridge I had to cross. Good thing I am not afraid of heights.
We made it to the top of Koko!
Look how cute he is.
Graffiti on top of Koko.
Prayer box at the top of Koko.
Mine entrance at the top of Koko
Going down. Finally.
Dirt after climbing. We looked funny going to brunch covered in dirt.
Mine tunnel. It looked really cool, but we didn’t go in.
The view is better in person, but I mean, wow.

I was dying. I had to sit or my legs would fall off. Side note, that structure behind me is what Cole wanted to climb.
This was my stop tell me to keep going. I’ll get there when I get there face.
Start of the trail and the first marker.
Cole and the Norfolk Trail.
Cole standing next to a very old palm tree on the Norfolk Trail.

Super cool stone stacking on the Norfolk Trail.

The Drop Off was truly lovely.
Big Tree was marvelous. She lived up to her name and exceeded my expectations.

The Morning Brew has really good coffee and food.

Sign outside the trail we got our engagement photos on.

Nature always wins.

August (My First Month in Hawaii)

Alright, August, here we go. A whole month I have lived in Hawaii, with Cole now, and all of it has been an adventure. I wrote a post about my first week so this will be about the remaining weeks in the month. (See all pictures below!!)

The second week I was here I begged, literally begged Cole to take me to a beach, really any beach would do. So, on a Friday, after he got off work, we went to Hickam beach with Jess and Collin. This wasn’t the first time I got to stick my toes in the water since I landed. The weekend before we had went out with Jess and Andy to a Karaoke Bar called Song Birds. To get to this bar, we walked along the beach. Cole and I walked off the path so I could finally stick my toes in the water. After we went to Hickam beach, we went to a frozen yogurt place, but not before getting my very first poke bowl (Which was delicious). Anyway, after we went to the beach on Friday, Cole, Jess, Andy, the kids, and I all went to the North Shore the next day. We first went to the Dole plantation to get our fill of Dole Whip, attend a fun filled educational train ride through the plantation, and work our way through a maze to locate seven hidden spots. It was super fun and the kids loved it.  Then we went to a beach called “Sharks Cove.” It was rocky and the fish swam right up near you, but it was really relaxing. That night we drove home through mountains that were just gorgeous. Cole and I went home to shower and then went back to Jess and Andys’ home for pizza. Monday through Thursday of that week I was dying in the apartment. All I had done was turn in my nursing application for Hawaii licensing and sat in the apartment. I did housekeeping things, like dishes and laundry. Things that I am NOT cut out for. It’s boring and has very little mystery other than “Oh, God, what did my finger just touch in the dishwater.”

The third week was pretty much the same until Friday when Cole woke me up after he got home from work. We went on our first hike! We went to Lanikai to hike up to the two pillboxes. It was my first hike and exercise in a while. It wiped me out. While it was fun, it was also a wake-up call that I needed to rework on my cardio. The pill boxes were decorated with art that many people have contributed to. The views were amazing. The ocean goes on forever and the mountains were beautiful. It was a great climb and I loved that Cole and I got to do it together.

The next week Jess and I went on our own adventure on Tuesday. We decided to go and hike the Pali Puka trail at the Pali lookout. But, before we were even able to do that, we had to help a dog find his way back home. After arriving, there was a lost pupper wandering around. He was wet (since it had been raining all morning) and cold. Jess and I put him in the back of the van and waited until his owner arrived (the people who had found him first called the number on his tag). After that we set off to the train. The trail isn’t really a trail that is kept up by the Hawaii Parks and such. Even the guy that runs the lookout couldn’t tell us if it was safe to go up because it is a liability and not really a designated trail. Too bad. We did it anyway and we rocked it. We were slow and it was muddy, but the views were breathtaking. It was well worth it at the top. There are parts of the trail where ropes have been tied to assist climbing in the almost straight up parts. It takes you through the woods, up rock faces, and the trail is even right on the edge of the mountain at places. It was windy and cool pretty much the whole way up, but we still sweated like beasts and were covered in mud. The rest of the week I was pretty much indoors the whole time until Friday came around and I decided to pick up running again. That night we all went out to Song Birds again and had a blast. Then Saturday morning Jess, Cole, and I went to Lenard’s to get Malasadas for breakfast. That afternoon we went back to Jess and Andys’ to watch the big boxing fight and stayed late for a game of Illuminati (which I highly recommend).

Then on Sunday the four of us all went to Pali Puka and climbed it. I loved it more the second time. The views are to die for and I got to kiss my love from the lovely view. Then this whole week I have managed to run every morning. I have also started to do daily yoga again and walk with Jess. I honestly love our time together without the boys. It is really amazing to have made such a wonderful friend so soon after I arrived! I don’t know what the weekend has instore for us quite yet, but I am excited to find out!

Pupper Jess and I helped get back to his mamma.
Jess and I at the window on Pali Paku the Tuesday we went together.
Jess and I again at Pali Puka
Muddy hands at the top of Pali on the rainy Tuesday we went. The next time we went it wasn’t nearly as muddy,
Window at Pali. We had to climb up to it and when we were standing almost on top, we had to climb down to see it properly. It is like you are in a wind tunnel but the view is wonderful.
Just one of the rope assists at Pali. This was on the day it was muddy. Believe me, this was the only thing that kept me from dying.
Me at some point on Pali the Tuesday that Jess and I went. It was super foggy across the way to other mountains and it was misty the whole way to the trail. We were worried it would be too rained/washed out, but it was just really muddy.
Just some more of the pupper because he was so darn cute (His name was Rocky) and the whole place has random chickens walking around. Some even had chicks.
Guava Malasada. The custard and chocolate are also super delicious. Lenard’s is the best.
Cole at the fist break on Pali. I honestly can’t explain the beauty. mother Nature is really the best artist I know.
Me and Cole on Pali somewhere.
We got Dole Whip Floats at the Dole Plantation! They were just as good as they were at Disney.
Me and Cole at the Window on Pali.
Cole and Andy at the window on Pali. They really are a true match.
Sunset because why not.
We went to Eggs N’ Things. Did I mention I LOVE breakfast food? Cole and I went here after we hiked Lanikia. I didn’t finish it all, but it was delicious.
At some point getting to the Lanikai trail I took this picture. The whole place is hills. I swear I only ever walked up.
Entrance to the Lanikai trail. It was much harder to go down and not break anything than it was to go up.
Is there a better view from the Lanikai trail? Maybe, but this is my favorite.
Cole being the mountain goat he is on the Lanikai trail. He took the more challenging paths while I tried my best to not die.
Cole doing his climbing thing at Lanikai.
First pillbox and some of its art.
“Your borders can’t contain me” -Ocean at Lanikai
Mountain view 180 degrees from the ocean view. It is so much prettier in person.
I was taking pictures of Cole and this nice lady was like “want me t get one of you both?” Of course we said yes. What better background can you get?!
Some more art work at Lanikai.
We parked just outside of this monument. It was like a mile walk to the trail head, pretty much all uphill. All in all, the day was a workout.
This was at Sharks Cove just before we left.
Another Pali shot.
Jess being all strong and climbing up another death rope at Pali. I sent her up first on all of them so I knew if I would die or not. She is much braver than I am.
Beautiful picture of Jess at Pali.
Jess again at Pali. Can you tell she is my new bestie?
We didn’t climb up this, but you better believe Cole wants to. Maybe next time.
Going down was not super easy. We mainly went down on our butts.
We had to climb around this super cool tree. Its roots were out everywhere and it pretty much just falls out if you aren’t climbing on the root system. People had craved names into the branches. It was beautiful.

Life Update!

Hey guys!

It has been a hot minute since I last updated this blog and a lot has happened in that time. So, Lets start in May! I graduate nursing school (finally) Summa Cum Laude in an accelerated program. I then moved back to my parents home for the summer. I pretty much slept the majority of my first week or so after college. Once I semi caught up on sleep, I was ale to schedule some much needed check ups. My dad and I spent a LOT of

time together this summer. Between our bi-yearly camping trip in Southern Indiana, building a cabin, and cleaning out my late grandfathers house, we were able to get in all the needed dad-and-daughter time before I left. I started my daily Calligraphy practice and I am getting better!

June was jam packed with camping, building, cleaning, and studying for my boards. My mom and I also attended the ALA conference in Chicago Indiana. Our book haul was about 400 books. Of course, I took about 100 for reading (at least 75 of those will be shipped back to my mom). I went back and forth to Muncie several times to visit friends and say goodbye.

July came all to fast and with it came the need to study more and pack all my things to ship and move. I was living out of three piles in my parents sunroom: keep at home, ship, or get rid of. If I wasn’t going to want it in three years, I got rid of it. In the end, I donated a lot of my stuff  and probably shipped too much.

My dad and I, with the help of his sibling, finished up packing his fathers home to get it ready to sell. I had a tattoo touch-up, passed my boards (!), threw a graduation/going away party, and finished up packing.
My best friend set up and surprised me with a Bridal Shower and invited the people I wanted to see most before I left!

On August 1st I flew out. It was a 15 hour day of travel (starting at 0530 am in Indiana and ending at 1400 in Hawaii). 

I honestly can’t believe I am here already. I have made several fantastic friends already. The food is amazing and the weather is wonderful ALL  THE TIME. Cole and I are really living it up. I have only been here a week but it feels like home. The morning after I landed Cole took me to Liliha Bakery and it was DELICIOUS. I LOVE breakfast food and that place was the best. On Saturday we attended a tattoo convention (and I now have ideas for my next 2 tattoos) and then spent the night at a karaoke bar with some amazing friends.

I am working on transferring my license, finding a job, and getting back into my exercise routine. I recently restarted my yoga routine and I a hoping to get back into my running. We are almost finished setting up our apartment (and I am still waiting to receive some boxes I had shipped). I am finally on a normal sleep schedule and not exhausted super early in the day. Cole has successfully gotten me addicted to “Rick and Morty” and “Shameless.” The sunsets and rises are lovely and we are truly enjoying ourselves!

I am hoping to try and write a weekly log for all those who want to know what we are up to here in Hawaii.

What Nursing School Taught Me

On Saturday I cared for my favorite type of patient and he happened to be a member of the KKK.

I prefer my patients to be intubated and sedated. They are less mean and more challenging to take care of. I like a good challenge and puzzle. I like critical patients. I love titrating medications and having labs and diagnostics to look at. I understand that portion of medicine.

I also do not like people who are prejudice and overall poor human beings. So, caring for my favorite type of patient and least favorite type of person was difficult.

I wrote a post a while back about how nursing school beat me down and why I don’t think nursing is where I want to STAY. Not that I never wanted to be an RN ever, only that it isn’t where I see myself in 20 years. Let me be clear, Nursing is a WONDERFUL and STRONG profession. Nurses are SMART and CARING. Nurses are who save people’s lives and make them better. Nurses are the eyes and ears in the hospital, but nursing school taught me that it isn’t where I fit. It isn’t where my passion is and to some, that means that I am not able to whole heartedly care for my patients. Turns out, I can, I do, and I will continue to as long as I am an RN.

Nursing school taught me that I am SO MUCH better at pathophysiology than I ever will be at patient care. It taught me that I am good at quick thinking and taking care of critical patients. Nursing school taught me that I would rather look at labs and diagnostics, because I find them more interesting.

Nursing school taught me how to care for a patient who has the same views as me and those who don’t. It taught me compassion and care in the face of hate. It taught me that no matter your background, when you are intubated and in the ICU, you are SCARED. Everyone is on equal ground in a hospital.

Nursing school taught me how to be strong when I don’t want to be. It taught me to show compassion to people who have views I don’t agree with. It taught me that holding the hand of a KKK member when they are coming out of sedation IS caring for my patient, WHOLEHEARTEDLY, regardless if their views contradict mine.

Nursing school taught me how vitally important it is to talk to your patient and their family. I taught me how important education and patient teaching are. Nursing school taught me the true importance of self-care and the difficulty behind it. I taught me how difficult it is for patients to dig themselves out of that hole of poor health in a way that only someone who has been there too can understand. It taught me that can related to a diverse on a variety of topics. It taught me to step back and think about the patient from their point of views, rather than from mine.

I have talked, at length, with various nursing instructors, preceptors, and family members about my decision to advance my degree away from nursing. For a long time I fought it. I felt like I was turning my back on a very noble profession and other nurses would feel the same. I felt bad. I convinced myself that I wanted to get my DNP and become a nurse practitioner and that would be enough for me. I was wrong. I met Pressy. I talked to Pressy many times about my future. I respect her more than really anyone that I have had the honor of learning from. One day, I asked her why she didn’t go the Medical School. I hadn’t made up my mind and that semester left me confused about where I wanted to go. Pressy told me that it was her biggest regret and spent the rest of the semester encouraging me to pursue medical school. So, I made up my mind and decided to accept the fact that I want to spend my life in a lab looking at slides and performing autopsies. I sent days determining what I really wanted to do and when I admitted to myself and others, I got nothing but support from my fellow nurses and my current clinical group. When I admitted it to myself, I felt happy. I felt like I had finally found my fit of where I wanted to go in life.

Nursing school taught me that I am not made to be a nurse and it taught me that it is OKAY. It taught me that while I am pursuing the education that is fit for me, I can still work as a nurse and care for patients, wholeheartedly. I know that nursing is not where I am going to end up, and I fought with that for a long time, but that DOES NOT mean I won’t be a good nurse. It means that I recognize that I can better help my patients from a different field.

I would LOVE to be able to switch my major now and a pre-med program to apply to medical school sooner. However,  it turns out that I just spent thousands of dollars on nursing school and funding a new $200,000 degree is going to require me to make and save a little money. I am not going to waste my nursing degree. I am not going half ass my training and the care of my patients because I am going into a different field. That would be super dumb. Instead, I am going to use this degree and profession to learn as much as I can. I am going to use the training and education on the job to help me in my future practice, research, and care of others. I am going to care for each one of my patients wholeheartedly regardless of background, social history, ethnicity, illness, attitude, or demands. I proved this to myself this week and I will continue to prove it to anyone who tells me that I can’t, just because I have realized my true passion isn’t nursing, but pathology.

I learned a lot in nursing school, but nursing school taught me much more about myself than I could ever imagine.


What Two Weeks of Journal Writing and Self Reflection Did for Me

In the past two weeks of my Christmas Break, I have done very little, but it feels like a lot. fullsizerender-3

I slept around 12 hours a night. I kept my usual bed time of midnight, but I woke up around noon everyday. I ate food that was bad for me, I watched A LOT of Netflix, I wore sweats almost everyday, and I spent most of the time with my aging dog. I began to clean and pack my bedroom. I created a large bag of trash and a large bag that goes to Goodwill. I have baked cookies and made buckeyes. I found a few last minute Christmas gifts and wrapped (poorly) presents. img_5358I drank many cups of coffee and tea. I have been able to forgive old grudges and recreate friendships. I picked up yoga again and started to better my eyeliner skills. I created an inspiration and motivation board. I spent time with nature, my parents, and my many animals. I had Christmas with my family (I got a lot of books and Calligraphy things). img_5275Finally, I did a lot of self reflection that I wasn’t really prepared for, which is the main purpose of this post.

My journaling used to consist of me just discussing my day and the feelings that followed. However, in reading a “self help” type book (which I really never read), I began to start every journal entry with “3 Things I was Good at Today,” “3 Things I am Grateful for Today,” and I recently started “1 Thing I Learned Today.” I was very skeptical at first when I began this. I have never been into “self-help” type things and I didn’t really expect these little practices to do much for me. img_5220

My entries in my journal were sporadic and sparse (kind of like my blog posts!). Once a month was pushing it, let alone everyday. However, after I started, for lack of a better word, “forcing” myself to write each day, I found the benefits tremendous. My self confidence, which is poor, has started to increase. I became more aware of my surroundings. Finding three things I was good at each day was and still is harder than I thought. It forces me to look back on my day and look at all things I did or didn’t do. I Some are simple like “make coffee for my grandpa” or “make an egg and cheese sandwich.” Other days, I find myself writing “making my friends smile” or “self forgiveness after eating a lot of sweets.” img_5170Several of the things are harder to accomplish than others, and I am proud of myself at the end of the day when I think back on it. When writing about what I am grateful for I found the same thing. It is either “my dog” or “the odd, but useful, advice my father gives me” and “the car ride talks with my mom.” These two practices that I end my day with increase my awareness of myself and I have started to find that I reflect on my day, during my day. This allows me to really enjoy and make sense of what is going on in my head and feelings. I have started to build myself up instead of tear myself down. By focusing what I was good at during the day, I focus less on the things I did wrong or messed up. Each entry takes 30-45 minutes and I spend a lot of time really thinking about my day.

I am still going strong; I haven’t missed a day in two weeks. My journal has started to house more thoughts and less complications in my life. I have filled out so many pages, I have had to purchase a new journal. I am better able to sort out what is going on in my mind when it is written on paper. Let’s face it, the chances of me keeping up the everyday writing is slim, and once school picks back up I am hoping to write at least once a week. However, I will still strive for an entry a day. I still will try and write my 3, 3, 1 practices. I am going to try to continue to better connect to myself and reflect on my actions and thoughts, regardless of whether or not I write in my journal.

I didn’t imagine that writing in a journal would have such a large impact on my life in just a couple of weeks, but I feel better. I feel more self aware. I feel more confident. I feel more ready to face my future and adulthood.

The past two weeks, I have really been focusing on myself and not pleasing other people. Journaling has really helped me with this process. It allows me to look inside and articulate what I really want. I am still not entirely sure what that is, but I feel closer to an answer and more confident that I will find my way, wherever that is.

So, I encourage anyone who reads this, whether or not you are on the fence about journaling, to try it. If you are having problems writing, try the 3 practices I mentioned. They will be more helpful than you think.