Marisah and I have been friends since we were like 14. We knew each other through the awkward and “finding ourselves” years and we have stayed friends ever since! She is one of my dearest friends and she was such a savings grace this week. On Monday, Ruben left to tour Brazil with Living Legends for three weeks. I knew I was going to be so wah once he left and was definitely not looking forward to it…. But seriously, Marisah was such a saving grace during these first few days of him being on tour.
After wedding #1 wrapped up, we were quickly on our way to LA for wedding #2. We flew in on New Year’s Eve because it was much, much cheaper and I’m just glad that we were able to land before the actual New Year kicked off. When we landed, we both desperately needed food and this pregnant mama was CRAVING some good, good hash browns and pancakes. So as soon as we got our rental car, we were on the hunt for an IHOP. I knew there were some sketchy neighborhoods around LA, so I was trying to be picky, careful about where we went, but also trying to find one that wasn’t too far out of the way. So we tried our first IHOP and we ended up leaving like a minute after pulling in. It didn’t look like too sketchy of an area, but there was a creepy/sketchy looking woman standing right outside the only entrance and then back where the parking was, there were these two other sketchy looking guys doing sketchy looking things and we both were DUT DUT OUT of there.
We found one closer to our friends house we were staying at and I prayed it was a little less sketch than the last one. Luckily it was in downtown, which I thought would be sketchy, but it was perfect with just enough normal people for us to trust. We found parking and headed right in. I guess I’m used to Provo and our IHOP and Denny’s always being hella overcrowded on any night, so I was shocked when it wasn’t super busy, but also super thankful. Because we surely didn’t get there until like 10 PM. I got my fixings that I needed and was a satisfied and overfilled lil’ ol’ pregnant woman once more, lol. Then we headed to our friend Rachel’s house.
Her street that she lives off of is pretty busy and because it was NYE, it was pretty crowded. We tried so hard to find a spot on our own, but when we failed, we gave her a call. We had attempted this one spot before, but it wasn’t quite big enough for our car and we were bummed because it was actually perfect. Turns out, her friend was one of those cars where we almost fit in and so she was nice enough to run across the street and move the car so we could fit. However, Ruben, me, and her and her friend were all on different understandings, so by the time we actually u-turned to head back to that spot, someone had already pulled in. As frustrating as it was, it was hilarious (once we finally found a spot for us to park) to hear her friend tell us about how she moved her car, helped the other car pull in and then offered to help with their bags! She thought it was us the entire time. It was hilarious after the fact, but we were so frustrated from all the parking fiasco’s that it took us a minute to cool down, lol. We then went inside and watched the ball drop. Luckily, we’re all at that point in adulthood where minutes after the ball dropped, we called it a night and went to bed! lol
The next morning, we woke up and decided to take it easy. We had breakfast with our friends and then decided to go out and do a little sight seeing. We drove down to Santa Monica pier and holy crap it was BUSY. We didn’t feel like paying $10 to park close, but parking far wasn’t my cup of tea since I’m all pregnant and stuff. We got super, super lucky tho and found a small parking lot that was limited to two hours, but was a grand total of $2 for 2 hours and it was a life saver! We parked right along the beach and got out. There was a big bowl game going on, so we found a bench along the beach and parked it and finished watching the game. Then we walked around the beach a little bit and up the board walk. We honestly hardly did anything, just walked and talked and watched the waves, but it was nice to just chill and be outside for a little (although it was freezing and I was not ready for it… s/o to Rachel for letting me borrow a coat while I was there lol). Then it was lunch time and I was craving mexican food! After a few days of nothing but poly food, this girl was craving some good good mexican! I found this super random mexican restaurant on Yelp and it did not disappoint! Not only did it have some friggin’ delicious chips and salsa and refried beans, but it was taco tuesday and all taco’s were $1, so we both ate and were satisfied for a grand total of $8! Blessssss!
After that, we went back to Rachel and her husband’s apartment and just watched more bowl games and then just rested. We were just trying to kill time before we met up with our friend Henrique and his husband Aaron. They had been travelling back from Utah all day, but they were seriously the best for taking time to visit with us while we were there. We went to this local restaurant by where they lived and I remember nothing about it except that they had the best dang lemonade I have ever had in my LIFE (I’m not even exaggerating. Most lemonade’s are too sweet or too tart, but this was PERFECT). We caught up on life and talked about their life as newly wed’s and freshly moved to California and our life as soon-to-be parents and all the in-betweens and it was great. Then, I was craving Cold Stone (I saw it on our way in) and luckily everyone was down for it! The Cold Stone was TINY though, so there was no room inside to sit and it was way too cold outside, so we went to Henrique and Aaron’s apartment. It’s so cute! Like I loved every bit of it and how much it felt like home in there. Seriously, nothing is better than seeing your friend chase his dreams and fall in love and be in love and create a life with the love of his life. Anyways, we just kept talking and everything and then it was getting kind of late, so we decided to head back to our friends apartment. *forever kicking myself in the butt for not getting a picture with Henrique and Aaron…. next time
The next day was WEDDING DAY and I was so excited. Luckily, the wedding didn’t start until later in the day, so we were able to have a slow morning to sleep in and eat breakfast and get ready. Then we drove to the Los Angeles LDS Temple and I walked around to figure out the game plan for the couple and make sure that I was in the right place when they exited the temple. We did the wedding thing and got some amazing shots. And then we ran to a local mall to grab some lunch (Shake Shack round 2 for us this trip, lol). Then I decided to check traffic for heading to the reception and thank goodness I did because it was bad traffic and would take us an hour and a half to get there! We started double timing it and basically ran to the car (we weren’t going to be late, I just wanted to be a little early so I could get some detail shots, y’know?). Traffic was bad, but at least it was steady and we were able to make it alright. The wedding reception was so much fun and smelt like heaven (they had oil diffusers around the entire cultural hall that were diffusing the smell of oranges and it was so delicious I don’t think you even understand). They left the reception decently early, so we were able to make it home at a good hour. I remember them saying they lived close to Disneyland, so I was super tempted to have us drive to Disneyland to watch the fireworks from Downtown Disney (I’m such a Disney girl at heart…. what can i say, lol), but I was so exhausted at the end of the reception, I just wanted to get home! Luckily we didn’t go to Disney though because it was so windy outside, they ended up cancelling fireworks. That would have been the WORST to drive there and not see what I came for, lol. Oh well.
The next day it was home! We were so ready to be home. We had been living out of suitcases for nearly two weeks and frankly, we just wanted our own bed and our own stuff and our own car and we just wanted to be home! So we were so relieved to be headed home. Home is Ruben, but also home is home. And sometimes (as fun as travelling is and seeing new places is and experiencing new cultures is) home is just where you want to be! We feel so blessed to have been able to travel so much, capture two weddings, and create memories ourselves, but (can I say it enough) we were ready to be home! lol
The day after Christmas, we woke up bright and early to catch our plane! I was so sick that morning and had gotten one of the worst nights of sleep ever, but I was so excited for Hawaii! We got all our stuff and sped off to the airport. We had a long layover in LAX, and thank goodness because it took us an hour and a half and like a mile of walking to get from the terminal we landed in to the one for our next flight! It was such a long process and I was tired, dramatic, and pregnant. So I wasn’t exactly the most pleasant person ever during all of this. I honestly don’t remember much. Just that I was so tired during the entire travel day, but I do remember the descent into Hawaii. Because of the major change in elevation and all the pressurizing of the cabin and my cold and inability to take medicine, when we descended into Hawaii, I was in so much pain! I legit thought that my eardrums were going to pop and I was like SOBBING (like not cute, ugly, miserable, awful sobbing) because of the pain I was in. I kept trying to distract myself, but then something would pop and the pain would be unbearable again. I was so happy to land in Hawaii and finally get off that plane, but my ears were so stuffed that it sounded and felt like I had stuffed my ears with cottonballs and put noise cancelling headphones on! It was awful.
We are such noobs with travelling and we didn’t pre-rent a car. We had thought about doing it the night before and it was looking like the cost of the car for our whole trip was going to be like $300 total. We thought “hey, let’s do it when we get to Hawaii because then we won’t have to pay convenience fees probably” … Well we were DEAD WRONG. We got there and the lines were like 50 people long and so then we went to look online and every single rental car was a minimum of $700 for our trip! HELLOOOOOO! We did not have that kind of money to spend. I was panicking and stressed and exhausted from our full day of travelling… I just kinda looked at Ruben and gave him responsibility for all of this because I wasn’t in a good state to take care of this and he was at least a little better than I was, lol. Luckily, he remembered (by a miracle that BYU has a partnership with Hertz and that you can rent at a discounted price and rent cars even if you’re under 25 from Hertz. It was the miracle of all miracles that we needed. He was not only able to get a car for LESS than the prices we were seeing the day before, we could pick it up within 15 minutes, skip the lines, and rent without the extra fee for him being less than 25 years old! H A L L E L U J A H !
Anyways, so we drove from Honolulu to Laie and the drive was gorgeous. It was rainy and moody and so green and we were loving it. We got to the house we were staying at and we were starving. We hadn’t eaten hardly anything all day and nothing for like 10 hours, so we needed food! We decided to go to Seven Brothers. I didn’t want to be lame and eat it at home. We were in Hawaii after all and I just wanted to take advantage of every minute we had there, but after we ordered Ruben was like “I love you, but you look exhausted. We need to get you home.” So we got our food to go, got back to the house, I ate like half my meal in like 15 minutes and then I crawled into bed and was OUT by 7 PM. And the best part was, I didn’t wake up until 8:30 the next morning! Praise be! I woke up feeling so well rested, my ears had popped and I wasn’t feeling even half as gross as I had all week. BLESS!
The next day, we woke up and didn’t really eat breakfast. We decided to go to the temple and walk around the grounds so I could be ready for my wedding the next day. While we were there, we ran into our best friends and decided to all go get lunch together. We were planning on seeing them later to go to PCC anyways, but we just wanted to spend as much time with them as we could.
We ended up meeting with not just our friends Kei and Brendan, but also Claudia, Kaika and Jon as well (who were all visiting for various reasons). We had Papa Ole’s (so good btw) and then decided to head over to PCC. Kei got us mad hookups and we got a tour guide who took us to all the good shows and made sure we got good spots for everything. And PCC is stunning! It was so fun to see what all our poly friends grew up doing at PCC. We walked around the villages, saw the canoe show, some village shows, and we also got to do the Prime Rib Buffet! I was a little disappointed because the prime rib was served medium rare and my pregnant booty can’t eat any kind of rare, so I didn’t really enjoy the meat. And then there was crab legs, but the smell was making me nauseous. I felt so bad because I felt like I was ruining the crab leg eating experience for everyone else. But also… Pregnant card lol. We ended the night by watching the night show Breath of Life. It was so cool to see and the best part was easily the fire knife dancing. It was incredible! We loved it!!
The next day was wedding day and it was chaos! It was great, but it was just a whirlwind of a day. It had rained ALL NIGHT the night before and it didn’t let up until late that night. I didn’t get like any pictures of us because it was obviously our job to be photographing/filming the wedding. It was a long day, but so worth it. We just wanted the bride and groom to remember all the happiness and blessings of the day rather than remember and focus on the rain that wouldn’t let up all day.
Our next day, I got literally no pictures at all, but it was a good day. We slept in and then decided to try and make the most of the day and do something. So we kind just got in the car and started driving. We decided to go to Turtle Bay and spent about an hour there. It was such a nice beach, but it was a little crowded and we just weren’t in the mood to be around a lot of people. When we got hungry/thirsty, we packed it up and headed to Ted’s Bakery. A bunch of people had recommended it to us, so we thought “Why not?” It was actually really good! We loved what we got and ate it there. After that, we had been texting our friend Kaylee about beaches to go and she told us to go and meet her and her fiance. So we headed back toward’s Laie and went to the beach with them. It was a bit of a walk, but it was really cool the area that we were able to hang out. The water wasn’t super deep and it was so calm. There were a few families, but overall it was mostly hidden. We spent a while there with them and then we all decided to head out. We went home, showered, and changed and then headed to PCC to their restaurant’s to get dinner. It was a fun little date night after a great day.
The next morning, we slept in again and decided to go to the beach (probably for the last time). We honestly didn’t do all that much beach time while in Hawaii just because the weather wasn’t 100 all the time and also because I know Ruben isn’t the biggest fan of beaches and I don’t want to put him out too much. But he was a good sport about going when I wanted to and I was a good sport about not making us stay too long, lol. We had the beach all to ourselves and it was nice. We didn’t get in because it was kind of chilly, but it was nice to walk along the beach and watch the waves and just talk and hang out. It was a perfect morning.
We spent that afternoon taking bridals for my bride and groom. The rain was so bad on their wedding day that we honestly got 0 pictures of just the two of them the entire day and I didn’t want to leave Hawaii without getting pictures of them to have FOR THEM. So we kept our schedule pretty open the entire time we were there and we were “on call” for whenever they had time and wanted to take pictures. The weather on Sunday was absolutely perfect and we got the most beautiful pictures ever with them! I am so happy they were willing to shoot on a Sunday and get back in their wedding gear when I know they just wanted to relax and just be married already lol. But for real. It was a glorious night! Funny story tho, we were just at the temple, taking pictures, when out of the corner of his eye, Ruben spots this guy he trained on his mission in Brazil! It was the smallest world and they were able to connect and exchange info so we could meet them the next day.
The next morning, we had to head out pretty early to give ourselves enough time to drive to the airport and check our car in. But luckily we got up pretty early. I wanted to try and catch a pretty sunrise, so we woke up early enough and the weather looked decently clear, so we went over to the beach and plopped down on a towel and watched. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was nice and peaceful. It was so funny though because we were just sitting there and then all of a sudden we felt a little sprinkling and then within like 1 minute it was POURING and we were running for the car! It was actually hilarious and we couldn’t stop laughing. After, we went back to the house we were staying at to clean up and pack up all of our stuff and then we left to meet up with Ruben’s old mission companion and his girlfriend. It was a nice, quick breakfast at McDonald’s (listen, we tried to go somewhere local, but nothing was open, lol). It was cool to hear their mission stories and catch up on life between when they last saw each other (like over 3 years ago). Then we left for the airport.
It seemed so wild that our time was already coming to a close, but I was so thankful that we were able to go to Hawaii to capture the most beautiful wedding. I can’t wait to one day go back and really plan the trip and also be able to take our Bubba Boy with us! We’ll be back, Hawaii!
Okay, so if you haven’t gathered by now, Disneyland is my all time favorite place! It’s seriously so magical every time of year. But the holiday’s are when that normal magic is at least doubled! I kid you not.
We (my mom, Aubrey, and I) decided we were gonna go to Mickey’s Not-so-scary Halloween Party again this year! And I’m so happy that we did. We honestly had the best time! It was a different trip for us though. This whole being pregnant thing definitely changed things for us. I wasn’t able to ride at least half our normal rides, I was nauseous, and I was just so dang tired all of the time! We normally go so hard for Disney (get there before the parks open, stay all day, try our hardest to stay till close, rinse and repeat)! But me being pregnant meant that things were a lot slower. And it was kind of an adjustment. We still had fun anyways!
Our first day there, we had fun but that was the first day of adjusting to the new chapter of Disney life. We started with Toy Story (always) and then didn’t do too much after. We had to have lunch at the new Lamplight Lounge (formerly known as Cove Bar). We got our normal Lobster Nachos and totally freaked out my mom! On their new menu there, they have their crazy cocktails (of course), but they also added Mocktails to the menu! My mom was on the phone walking around while Aubrey and I ordered, so we decided we’d freak her out and order a mocktail and then tell her it was a cocktail and Aubrey had decided she wanted to start drinking now that she was 21! It was hilarious seeing my mom’s face and her trying to decide if it was really real. And then my pregnant booty went over and took a drink and we told her that it was a mocktail and we were joking and she should have some. It was well worth the joke! lol. Then we did some more rides, had some treats (ice cream and Macaroons) and then I got the craziest sugar headache! But that was fine because then they had a bunch of fast passes for rides that I couldn’t ride anyways. We had dinner at our favorite Cafe Orleans were so sad because they don’t have their normal Gumbo anymore… Booooo! I know they gotta change and adapt, but we had our normal’s there and now that they’re different, I don’t know how much I’ll want to go and eat there… We called it kinda early that night because there weren’t fireworks and I was just plain exhausted from the day!
The next day was a different one! We went in the morning and rode some rides and took some pictures! Aubrey Disneybounded as Jane from Tarzan, so of course we had to get pictures of her on that “ride”. Funniest story (and also kind of sad, but mostly funny). As you’re walking around the Tarzan jungle gym thing, there’s this part where it shows the Jaguar that killed Tarzan’s parents. It’s cool to look at, but it also has sound effects. So we were walking up to it and I could kind of hear it “purring” and there was this little girl in front of us who was looking at it. And as we walked up, the jaguar growls superrrr loud and I mean it kind of startled me, but it totally freaking out that little girl in front of us! She JUMPED and then turned around and started running across the bridge to get away from it! However, this bridge is kind of slippery because of the material it’s made out of, and so she trips and BIFFS IT! I just looked at Aubrey and both started laughing, but I also felt so awful because that little girl had skid her knees and was starting to cry, so I tried so hard to stifle my laugh and check to see if she was okay and needed any help! Luckily, she was fine and had just skinned her knees a bit and got up and went on her way, but it was literally the most hilarious and also sad thing to happen (more hilarious tho… I’m still laughing about it)! We honestly didn’t stay long at all and we were headed back to the hotel at about 12:40 PM. We decided to take a break to go to the hotel and nap and also get ready for the Halloween Party that night. That nap was soooo nice! We got ready and then we headed out for an evening of trick-or-treating and enjoying the park with far less people in it than normal!
As we were on our way to the park, we hopped in our Lyft and we were allll decked out (because this is the only time you can dress up as an adult and go to Disneyland). We were at a stop light and talking with our Lyft driver and then he noticed that the man driving the van next to us was checking my mom out. And he was not subtle at alll!!! Oh my gosh, he waved and would not stop staring at her! We could not stop laughing at him because he was just so weird and off and he would not stop staring. My mom’s still got it!!
We finallyyyy got into Disneyland (after the craziest security lines and the lady in front of us popping off at the workers for five minutes) and it was time to get the party started! We honestly hardly rode anything all night. We had a few fast passes that we needed to ride before they expired, but that was it! We mostly just went around and hit all the trick-or-treating that we could! And we got loaded on candy! It was so much fun walking around and seeing everyone’s costumes. Some were simple and other’s were so incredible and custom and amazing! I think that’s my favorite part of the whole thing it was just seeing everyone go so hard and dress up (from kids to adults to seniors!). It was amazing! We watched the parade, walked around and met the Mad Hatter (Favorite line of his: “Your tea is my favorite kind of tea… Royal-tea”), and watched the fireworks! I wish I had taken more pictures of the decorations and my favorite costumes because the entire atmosphere was amazing! The best was the Rivers of America had fog all along them and were so eerily lit. Seriously, if you ever have a chance to go to Mickey’s Halloween Party, GO! It’s so worth it!
My mom was a saint the next day and let us sleep in until 8:30 (which never happens)! We were planning on sleeping in until 7:30 and getting to the park at 9, but we slept in until 8:30 and we honestly didn’t get to the park until closer to 10:30. We really wanted a picture in front of the cute lil’ (actually, not so little) Mickey Pumpkin. We waited in line for about 30 minutes, but it was so worth it! They have so many villians walking around Disneyland during Halloween time and Cruella was our favorite! We were watching her walk around and talk to people and she would sometimes hop into people’s pictures and we were praying she would pop into ours and SHE DID! Miracles happen my friends!!! I honestly can’t even remember anything else from this day. We just hung out and ate and rode rides! Actually, I hardly rode anything that day. It was so ridiculously busy and borderline miserable, so we didn’t even get a lot of fast passes that day. And I only rode 4 rides the ENTIRE DAY! All time low… Literally. I called it in early (like 8:30 PM kind of early) that night because I was seriously dead still from the night before. My mom and Aubrey stayed until like 11:40, but I could not hang! I was just dead exhausted and we were going to wake up early the next morning so I decided to go to bed at 9:30 and it was quite glorious!
Our last day in Disneyland was only about half a day and I’m already sad it’s over! We got up bright and early, packed and did our best to make it for opening! We made it in just a little after, but we got right to work on Fast Passes and standing in line while lines were still short! We were only staying until 4, so we had to make the most out of our day! However, we all needed a nap, so we literally went to Frozen to take naps in the cool AC. But that was honestly the worst Frozen I’ve ever been to. The acting was awful, the got a new Anna, Elsa and Olaf and they were all subpar. It was disappointing… But it was nice to sit in a cold auditorium and escape that heat for an hour! We rode all our favorites at least once that day and then we did some shopping at World of Disney (if you haven’t been since they remodled, GO! It’s amazing) and then we called it a day and headed to the hotel to pick up our luggage and head to the airport.
These trips are always so short and this one was so different, but I still loved it! Now that Ruben and I are starting to have children, we’re entering this new era of Disney where we’ll spend more time in Fantasyland than on the big rides and ride swapping and being tired all the time and not being able to Disney as hard as we normally do. It’s gonna be weird and hard, but I cannot wait because I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!