Monday, August 31, 2009

Procrastination and Honors..

I am now deeming myself the queen of procrastination of late! I don’t know what my problem is but I can’t seem to get all of the crazy wonderful blog posts out of my head and on to the computer..sorry folks! I am training for a 1/2 marathon (still can’t believe it) which is in three weeks and man if you could be in my head during those long runs…it’s where I do my best blogging :) They really need to invent some kind of device that you can wear and basically your thoughts are transferred onto your computer screen and then you just edit..or maybe not..that might be really scary! Anyways, I am really sorry for my lack of blogging lately and I promise to work on it :)

Now that I have that off my chest..

I have received two awards in the recent weeks and I want to apologize for not putting them up and passing them on sooner (and my lack of haste in no way means that I was not ecstatic and thrilled when I learned of the girls are truly the best)! 

First, one of my absolute favorite bloggers Brittany Ann passed along the totally rad Superior Scribbler Award!

superior scribbler award

I have to say I was truly surprised and honored that you felt I was worthy of this! Brittany is such a sweet and awesome totally need to check out her blog if you haven’t! Thank you so much dear friend :)

Now it is my turn to pass it along to 5 other superior scribblers that I love to read..

Future Mama @ Baby Makin(g) Machine

Kassie @ The Girly Gallivanter

Aubrey @ Made You Blush

Kym @ Bee Creative

Nicole @ My teacups in peony

You guys always make my day and I love reading your blogs!! (To these lovely lady winners, make sure you go here and add your name to the Mr. Linky list at the Scholastic-Scribe's blog so they can keep track of all who win this award!)

And for the second honor of the day..

The fabulous Aubrey passed on the Premium MEME Award!


Thank you so much friend! She is one to always make me laugh, smile and just feel good about the day (ps..check her out if you haven’t)!

For this award I have to list 7 personality traits and pass it along to 7 other bloggers that deserve recognition for their personalities that they so freely share with all of us..

So here goes my 7 personality traits..

- I love to spoil others and make them happy

- I live to bring glory to Jesus my heavenly father

- I can be selfish at times but I am daily working at being selfless

- when I eat too much sugar I can literally bounce off the walls and I could live off broccoli (yum)

- I am a homebody and love to relax with the hubs or read a good book

- I can be really shy and outgoing at the same time

- I still sometimes get totally overwhelmed with this fairly new military life

Now on to my 7 recipients…

Mallory @ Sunshine Girl

Brittany Ann @ Living in the Moment

Patty Ann @ Living life to the pinkest

Ashley @ A little Piece of Me



Jessica @ called to serve

You girls are the greatest!!

To all my blogger friends though..I love you guys and I want to pass both of these awards on to you too! Some days I don’t know how I would get through without all of you encouragement and support…and all days you make me smile! Every one of you brings something unique and wonderful to this blog world … thank you!!

Now for an announcement…

TRY’EM OUT TUESDAYS returns tomorrow!!! Tune in to see the next product review :)

Oh and if you have an suggestions please let me know!

Have a wonderful day :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The best thing I ever ate..Italian

I don’t know how many of you have seen the new show on food network called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” but I am seriously obsessed! For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about I will give you a brief rundown straight from the mouth of food network..

“Ever wonder what the biggest food stars and chefs eat in their free time – when they're paying? Find out on The Best Thing I Ever Ate! It's the ultimate guide to the country's most amazing meals, eats, and treats as told by the pros who spend their lives obsessing over food. From a barbecue sandwich worth driving over 1500 miles to canolli so good that it completely healed a bad breakup. Don't miss this series featuring some of your favorite Food Network stars, offering a taste of the things you must try before you die.”

If you haven’t seen it you are seriously deprived! However there is one major problem with this show! You see, it is part of the food network nighttime basically that time of night when your dinner has worn off and you are starting to get hungry again and yet it is too late to eat anything because you are going to bed soon (or better yet watching tv in bed) this amazing program comes on that features the true food gems in this country! Can I say torture or what?? I sit there salivating as I watch my fav food network stars rave about their favorite dishes which come fully equipped with detailed explanations and clear viewing to drive anyone crazy! My willpower (not to dig into everything in the fridge after watching this show) has held out so far but I don’t know how long it will last..oh well!

Anyways, each week the show has a new theme such as chocolate, sandwiches, seafood, etc. So as a tribute to one of my new favorite tv obsessions I am going to provide all of my lucky readers with my own version featuring guessed it..Italian food (although I have to admit what I about to reveal was probably the best meal I have ever ate..period)!

So without further ado here it goes…

I am an avid fan of Bravo’s Top Chef and this last season was one of my all time favorites! I was born into a top chef lovin family and My mom and sis are obsessed love this show too. Which is great because although we are many miles apart we are able to analyze the shows over the phone (and oh do we analyze)! My mom was totally captivated by this last season and has them all taped on her dvr so that she can watch them anytime (but really were not obsessed)! Although, I have determined that it is one show that you can watch over and over again since there is so much yummy food happenings that it is hard to catch it all in one watch. One of the contestants was by far our favorite and stole our hearts and stomachs early on with some fantastic food and stand out phrases! Unfortunately he did not make it to the final three (he was voted off at final four) but boy did he make this season memorable :)

If you still don’t know who I am talking about its Fabio!! One of the things that captivated me most about Fabio, besides his amazing looking food, was his outlandish personality. Since he was born and raised in Florence some of the things he said or was said to him would be confused in translation. Here are some of his most memorable quotes:

“I am front of the house. We can serve monkey-ass and empty clam shell and we will win.” (said during the restaurant wars episode)

"This is Top Chef, not Top Pussy!"

"Hospital?  I'll chop it off and sear it on the flatop so it doesn't bleed anymore, and tomorrow I'll deal with 9 finger." (said when asked if he wanted to go to the hospital after he broke his finger during the Last supper challenge)

" It's not a freakin' cheese steak. It's a fillet mignon sandwich."

"I'm 30 years old and I have to sleep in the bunky bed."

"I got so many kick in my ass so many time, that sometime when I'm in the bathroom, I still pull shoe out of my ass."

“This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop”

If you have watched last season you are probably laughing as you recall Fabio in his heavy Italian accent spouting out this hilarious and off the wall statements (and if you didn’t watch it you missed out)!

Not only did Fabio provide a lot of comic relief to the season, he also produced some amazing looking food that help him go far in the competition. As I had mentioned before, my mom and sis were equally impressed with him and since his restaurant was less than two hours away from their house my mom promised my sis they would go there for her birthday. Fortunately for me my family is quick to dream and talk but slow to take action. Therefore, although my sis’s b-day was in April, the anticipated trip didn’t actually take place till I was out there this last month..they were so sweet to wait for me :)

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Fabio’s restaurant, Cafe Firenze Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar, is located in Moore Park, CA (about a half hour outside Santa Barbara). So after finally deciding and sticking to a date to go, My parents, sister, next door neighbor and I set out to experience food like we never dreamed possible. On a side note, the neighborhood where I grew up is very close and we actually invited them all to come but we were the only ones that could make it..their loss.

In the typical Thomas (my family) fashion we had looked up the restaurant on-line and printed off the menus to take in the car so that we could be fully preparing our taste buds for what lied ahead. We also thought it would be a good way to decide what we were going to have so that we wouldn’t be indecisive when we got there (that part didn’t really work though). I also have to add the my neighbor, Lisa, is the queen of Italian cooking and has first hand knowledge of true Italian food and heritage :) She also loves food and is one of the best people to eat out with..she truly makes it a whole new experience! We arrived at the restaurant around 2pm as to enjoy a late lunch, which was really nice since it was a Wednesday and therefore we basically had the restaurant to ourselves. Oh and it was beautiful!

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Our waitress was top notch..seriously! One of the first questions we asked was if Fabio was there. Unfortunately, he was taping a segment for a show and was not there..bummer! We were a little disappointed but not for long..the food sure stole our hearts, made our taste buds leap with joy and our stomachs smile. Even though we had been looking at the printed out menu for the last hour and a half, we still spent 15 minutes or more trying to decide what to indulge in..there were so many good choices. The waitress was really helpful and brought out a sample of the lobster bisque, which was oh so amazing and would even make a non-seafood lover swoon!

One of the reasons that I love eating with Lisa (my neighbor) is that she is not afraid to say what she wants and order us around a little :) This was her when we first were trying to decide..

“Okay I’ll get the seared tuna salad and Ash you’ll get the butternut squash ravioli, and Holly you’ll get the risotto, and Kirk you’ll get the pizza and Suzanne you’ll get the beef capriccio and then we can all share!”

I didn’t turn our exactly that way but we did figure out something that worked! My sister is gluten intolerant and therefore was fairly limited. One of the main dishes that she can have and we all wanted to try was the Wild Mushroom and Homemade Sausage Risotto. However, for some reason only known to her and God she didn’t want to try the homemade sausage (hello it makes the dish) and opted for chicken instead (did I mention she was dropped on her head as a baby?)! So since Lisa and I really wanted to try the Risotto as Fabio had intended it to be we decided to order it along with our other entrees (like an appetizer). It was seriously love at first bite! I had never had risotto before and holy batman..I almost upped and booked a ticket to Florence right then and there! I have to give it to my sis though, it was also very good with the chicken as well…but the sausage..oh my (and normally I am not a huge fan of sausage)! The dish was velvety with an earthiness and depth I can’t even begin to describe! I will say that the taste didn’t leave my mouth memory for weeks after (that’s when you know it was top notch)!

I also decided to try the butternut squash ravioli and a side salad that had the most amazing oven roasted tomatoes on it. Another home run! The ravioli was very rich and had a lovely sweet flavor (I late found out that was due to adding amaretto cookies to it).and oh that cream sage die for! After one bite it was good, after two bites watch out, and after three bites..well don’t even try to take it away from me! We all shared and everyone loved it! Next Lisa got the seared tuna salad with the same yummy oven roasted tomatoes..okay seriously where is my ticket to Florence?! My mom got the beef capriccio that Fabio made during one of the challenges on top chef. If you recall they all really like it and now we know why..amazing!! It came with olives that through the use of molecular gastronomy had been made into liquid and then shaped like olives cool! Last but certainly not least my dad got the lasagna bolognese..and oh what a lasagna it was! Normally I am not a huge fan of lasagna so I have to say I wasn’t over the moon to try it but obliviously that didn’t stop me, if it was as good as everything else I knew I was in for a treat. Let me tell you did not disappoint!! The first bite totally swept me off my feet and instantly transported me to what I have always dreamed Italy would be like. The homemade noodles were fresh and perfectly cooked paired with a sauce that was robust yet slightly sweet and basically made my mouth do cartwheels. You may think I'm exaggerating …really it is that good!

We ended the meal with a wonderful flowerless chocolate cake and an amazing gelato..which my sis so loved since neither contained gluten :)

This meal was one for the books! Oh and one of the best parts was that as we were finishing..stuffed to the brim..the waitress came over and announced that Fabio was back from the taping and we could meet him. So excited! He came over to the table and we proceeded to have about a 15 minute convo with him..and since my mom literally stocked him via bravo she had all kinds of questions for him. Oh and he didn’t disappoint either…he was totally as charming and witty in person as he was on tv.

So there you have it folks, if you are looking for a authentic Italian meal that will literally rock you world you totally have to check out Cafe Firenze in Moore Park, CA. Believe me you will never look at Italian food the same way again..I just can’t wait to go to Italy someday..and the food obsession lives on!

Here are some more pics of the wonderful event..

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Have a wonderful food-filled dreaming night!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Local gems

I don’t know about you but whenever I find new unique little places I am suddenly transformed into a giddy little school girl! Yesterday the Hubs and I were out gallivanting around enjoying the wonderful summer sunday. We had just left the outlet mall by our house having failed to find another, yet just as important, running shirt for the hubs..can we say addiction?? Love you hubs! I have to admit that I was in exceptionally good spirits since we managed to leave the outlets without any damage to the bank account. I do love shopping and I am working on my obsessive compulsive tendencies to try and control the money but since I hadn’t looked at our account for a while I was a little nervous (I know, I know but I’m trying)!

Anyways the hubs loves to take back roads whenever possible and since we were in an area where you couldn’t tell the back roads from the main roads I would say he suddenly became a kid in a candy store :) I have stopped trying figure out the way home since it seems like we go a different way every time.

The day was beautiful and we both love to drive/ride so I was truly up for the adventure. As we got closer to the base (or so I was figuring) we saw a sign for fresh pies and then arrows pointing us on our merry way. Usually, although we both love pies and fresh foods, we tend to pass on by those signs eyeing them but saying nothing (probably in hopes that the other one will suggest that we check it out which usually doesn’t happen)! Blame it on the wonderful food that we had already gorged on this weekend or the after effects of just seeing Julie and Julia and vowing to learn to appreciate local food more..I heard myself say “hey let’s check it out”. Well that was all the encouragement the Hubs needed!

Now we were on a new mission..following the signs which promised to end at the golden pot of fresh pies!! Now in NJ usually these type of signs lead you to a side of the road fruit stand operation, which I was totally expecting! But joy of all joys we arrived not to find a little stand but a whole building?! Uh on..I could totally feel the giddy little school girl coming on and we hadn’t even gone inside yet!

We entered was I now know is Emery’s berry patch and what can I say..the giddy girl took over and I had no control over what came next!

The Hubs should be used to me by now but I still saw the look of sheer amazement as I bounced from one yummy food to another simultaneously pointing out a new discovery while eyeing the next! The store was filled with so much unique local pies, ice creams, mixes, baked goods and jams that I literally had to step away, take a deep breath, and remind myself that this precious little gem was within 15 minutes of our house and was not going to disappear I didn’t have to buy everything right then!! Luckily the hubs was with me to provide some sense of reality (although I could have done without the snickering)! In the end we settled on a peach pie (no sugar added since as I mentioned we had just gorged ourselves on other yummy food this weekend) and a huge jar of fig jam. I love love fig jam and my grandma used to have a fig tree and would make it for me but unfortunately the fig tree overextended it’s welcome and its roots and was therefore uprooted in an effort to save the houses foundation! no more fig tree = no more fig jam..sadness! Needless to say, since fig jam is a rarity, I did a little dance right then and there in the middle of the store and insisted that we purchase a jar :)

As we were checking out I told the lady that the little Aggie in me wanted to leap up and hug here because her store brought to life all the good memories of FFA and Kern County! I told you I really had no control over my actions at this was all the giddy little school girl! The totally kind and understanding lady welcomed us to this little gem of an establishment and since we didn’t seem to lack enthusiasm she also told us about the hayrides and pumpkin picking in the fall and a neat new winery down the road called Laurita Winery. Did you hear that mom..I know what we are doing the next time you come and visit!!

On the way home the Hubs and I couldn’t stop talking about the warm feeling of this wonderful store and how great it is to find these neat little local gems! I really can’t wait to go back, especially since the pie and jam are amazing!! My little Aggie heart is bursting with joy right now!

P.S. Don’t judge!!

What are some of the local gems that you love in your area?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lessons I learned from my uninvited mouth guest..

note ** if you haven’t yet read the previous post first or else you might be a little confused!

Sorry to leave you all in suspense so here comes the rest of the story…

The first few days back in bako I made plans with friends via text message (gotta love technology) and made my sister tag along with me every where else so that she could interpret my points and grunts as well as explain to people that I was not trying to be rude I just couldn’t talk! I learned that I could put on the numbing medication and be good to talk for about about 20 minutes but at minute 21 the pain overtook and my mouth became unusable once again :( Which was really bad when talking to people because I would be just getting into a conversation with them when the pain would hit and then it would be hard to explain that although I was talking normally just one second ago suddenly I was unable to continue the conversation…awkward!

Each morning I would wake up praying that my mouth would at least feel somewhat better, at least then I would know that I would eventually heal! All of my friends and family were very understanding but I was getting so tired of surviving on yogurt and grunts!

Finally midweek I started to feel some relief!!! halleluiah I might not permanently be stuck like this!! As the days progressed my tongue started to slowly heal and I was even able to start enjoying some of the yummy food that I had been deprived of for so long! (it’s a great diet but totally not one I would recommend!) Luckily I had made most of my plans with friends for the second week in bako (since the hubs would be back in NJ and I wouldn’t feel bad about ditching him). By the time week two came I had almost full use of my mouth again. It was so amazing to get to talk and catch up with so many friends. I’m sure my family had mixed emotions about this because as you can imagine I had been stuck holding in all of my thoughts and comments for almost two weeks and boy did it feel good to let them out! I wouldn’t be surprised if the fam didn’t at some point secretly hope that I would relapse so that they could experience some sense of silence again! But for the most part I think they were truly glad this had mostly passed. I can tell you I have never appreciated simple things such as chewing and talking more than I did then! Which brings me to my next point…

As horrible and painful this experience was it taught me some very valuable lessons!

One of the hardest parts of not living in bako is not being able to attend the church there. I absolutely adore the pastor, he is one of the rare pastors that I have really connected with and found that within a minute of him speaking I want to dive right into my bible and not look back. I was truly blessed to be able to spend three wonderful sundays listening to him and growing closer to God while I was in bako. On the last sunday I was there he spoke about the necessity of solitude and silence. having just come out of my own crash course on that subject it really struck a cord with me! He addressed the fact that it today’s world we are always plugged into something (ipods, cell phones, etc.) and although that it not always a bad thing many of us (myself included) have become scared of silence. The moment I enter my house I have to have some kind of background noise, if not it’s “too quiet”. However, it is in those quite times that we are really forced to acknowledge and deal with our own thoughts and feelings. I am totally guilty of not dealing with things. I push my feelings aside and then later down the road wonder why I am so screwed up. But how can I move on if I haven’t forced myself to deal with or even acknowledge what I am thinking and feeling!

God uses the silent times, he uses our thoughts and feelings to grow in Him and with Him. When I had my ability to talk taken away I was forced to deal with all of my thoughts and feelings that I normally push aside. was a little scary! But you know what? It made me come face to face with things I have been ignoring for years..years people! I was forced to start to deal with them and to turn to God for help. I will say it again, God uses silence to speak to us. He uses our own thoughts to help us grow. I was so busy being plugged into everything else that I had forgotten what it was like to be unplugged! Silence isn’t something to be scared of, it is a true gift from God. The more I allowed myself to experience God’s gift of silence and allow him to speak to me the more whole and content I have started to feel.

Although I wouldn’t have willingly endured the tongue torture if I had a choice I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything now! I think that I often only appreciate and want to experience things that bring me pleasure and comfort. But am I really forced to grow if I don’t endure hard times?? I truly believe that it is those hard times that mold me into the best possible version of me, the version that God is molding! I want to encourage all of you lovely ladies that in the hard times look for the good, really try and get passed the hurt and pain and discomfort and see what good you can get out of it!

Sorry if I have gotten too preachy, this has been something I have been slowly learning and I was excited to share it with all of you. You guys are the best and your support means the world to me :)

Happy Tuesday :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Uninvited Mouth Guest

WARNING: This might be a fairly long post but hopefully worth the read..

Since I didn’t write anything during vacation I wanted to fill you guys in on some interesting stories of what went down in Cali! Vacation is never dull! After the fun beach day with my fam we decided that the perfect end to the day is dinner at one of my favorite west coast restaurants..Claim Jumper! If you haven’t been there you are seriously deprived and if you have you know what I mean :)

Since my family ..err my always looking for the best deal and claim jumper has an amazing happy hour we decided to take advantage of it and eat in the bar. It was just my mom, dad, sis and me. On a side note..since I no longer live in bako or even cali while being married it is always a funny feeling to have vacations and dinners with the original Thomas clan (my family) without the hubs. I almost feel like I have been transported back to the unmarried years yet not. Anyways sorry for the random side note :) Back to the story..

We were having so much fun enjoying amazing food and fabulous conversations..and since I was only one not drinking I had fun messing with my fellow family members! I always get the same thing when I go there and it is always so yummy :) Claim Jumper has an amazing salad bar and since I love salad and love getting to choose what I put on my salad and love getting to eat as much as I want and love cornbread croutons (which they have unlimited) I don’t even have to look at the menu ;)

I always have so much fun eating with my family because we love food and sharing it with each other. As we were getting towards the end of our meal and I was enjoying every bite..I bit down and suddenly started to feel a lot of pressure on the lower left side of my mouth. Right in the middle of our “what amazing dessert do we want to try” debate I got up and bolted to the bathroom leaving my family very confused.

Once I entered the bathroom I immediately looked in the mirror and was greeted by what looked liked something the writers of Grey’s Anatomy would makeup as to provide more drama and entrap us viewers into this medical mystery for the next hour. but no it was real and on my tongue! Seriously people, I now had an extra tongue forming on the side of my real tongue the size of a nickel and turning a deep burgundy color right in front of my eyes! I ran back to my family and was immediately transformed into a 5 year old little girl pouting my lips and crying “mommy help me” while trying to show her this new addition to my mouth. Luckily my mom stayed very clam. However, the other two slightly tipsy members of my family started freaking out a little louder than necessary!

The rest of the dinner was spent going back and forth to the bathroom to check what I had now determined was a very large blood blister on the side of my tongue. It didn’t hurt that bad, it was more uncomfortable, and the food was still calling my name so I attempted to eat dessert which in turn caused me to pop the blister..oops! I immediately thought..oh well at least it is done with now. Boy was I mistaken! Since the blister had popped it now turned into an open sore.

That night I cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide and hoped that it would be gone in the morning. Unfortunately that was not the case. I woke up to a throbbing tongue (and oh can a tongue throb) which hurt worse every time I tried to eat or speak or move my mouth..humm..not good! The first few days after that it hurt a lot but I could still eat some and I was starting to learn the art of pointing and grunting in a effort to communicate to the family. The Hubs had arrived too (he could only take a week off of work) and was trying to help as much as he could. By Friday however, I felt like I wanted to die (or at least have someone cut off my tongue)! I got some of that oral gel stuff but it only worked for about 20 minutes before it would wear off and I would be in more pain than before. To make it worse the pain had now moved to my ear and throat on that side too. Luckily my wonderful doctor brother-in-law meet up with us on Friday and I suckered him into asked him kindly to take a look at it. He suggested that I get it checked out so on saturday, our last day at the beach, the hubs and I headed to urgent care.

As we arrived I was secretly hoping that the doctor would be like “oh I can totally help you with that and get it taken care of right away”..a girl can dream right?! Too bad that wasn’t the case. After waiting for like an hour we headed back to see the doctor. The place was actually really nice and fairly quick for a urgent care so I couldn’t complain much. The doctor checked my tongue as I tried to explain to him what happened and why I was there (did I mention that it was extremely painful to talk)! My hopes were dashed when all he said was “well it should clear up in a week but here is some antibiotics and use numbing gel to help with the pain”…well thanks doc I was already doing that! After leaving urgent care it was just my luck to find one of the best frozen yogurt places, one of the only foods I could eat, on the last day we were at the beach (which didn’t stop me from visiting it twice within a few hours)!

With my antibiotics and frozen yogurt in hand I was determined to beat this thing and get the use of my mouth back! My family had become fairly used to my pointing and grunting but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to go back to my hometown and see people I haven’t talked to for months, all without full use of my mouth..not fun and very frustrating!! I was really nervous and upset as we headed over the ridge back to the was I going to handle this???

since this is such a long and exciting story I am going to pause right here and continue on the next post..

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I’m Alive..

First of all I would like to apologize for being MIA for the last two weeks!! I had an amazing time out in cali with my family. We were on the go a lot and I ended up deciding that instead of freaking out about when I was going to get to update my blog I was going to have a blog free vacation and hopefully bombard you all with stories and pictures when I got back! I missed you all terribly though and I am excited to get back to the bloggy world :)

I do have to warn all of you though that when I returned to NJ I was met by a long list of to do’s and several unexpected social obligations so don’t think I have forgotten about you if I am not supper bloggy these next few weeks! I will do my best but I wanted to give you all fair warning. It’s amazing how there can be several weeks/months of peaceful routines and then you are hit at the same time by a jam packed schedule…go figure! I also found it funny that although I didn’t blog a lot while in cali my mind never stopped writing them (it’s just that whole getting it down on the computer thing that was the problem)!

Now I will leave you with a little peak at the beginning of my cali vacation..

While at the beach with the fam I decided that after 5 years of avoidance the ocean and I had to be reacquainted via boogie boarding with the dad! And to prove that I was actually in the ocean here are some pics…

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And then I started to remember that I am very afraid of waves…yeah wish i would have remembered that before going in the ocean!!

Have a great night everyone!