DIY Monster’s Inc Costumes

During October, one of my biggest decisions is “what am I going to be this Halloween?” I love homemade costumes because I find it so interesting to see how people’s creative juices start flowing.

Last year, MG and I made minion hats for our costume.

Minions

This year we’re going to be… Can you guess from the items below?!?!

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Do these colors remind you of any Pixar movies? Perhaps Monster’s Inc. MG will be Mike Wazowski, and I will be his companion, Sulley.

Mike & Sulley

This year, my costume will be a double-duty outfit. If you’ve been following along, then you know what these costumes were used for (my Disney half marathon!).

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In this post, I’m going to show you how I created these looks.

First let’s start out with Mike Wazowski. What you’ll need is a bright green shirt and 3 different colors of fabric (white, black, and dark green). Cut out a circular eyeball on the white fabric, a smaller dark green circle for the cornea, a smaller circle for the pupil, and then a small white circle to use as the reflection of the eyeball.

Find circular items around the house as your guides – I used a variety of bowls.

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Iron the eyeball flat:

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And simply sew each piece onto the t-shirt. I kept the sewing simple, so the edges are raw and a bit frayed (I chose this since MG will only be wearing the shirt twice). If you want the costume to last longer, definitely sew with a zig-zag hem. Another option is to use Fray Check by dotting along the edges and letting the liquid dry (it works like clear nail polish).

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Now for the Sulley costume! I wanted to keep it girly and cute still (ideally, I don’t want to look like a huge fluffy monster). What I came up with is a tutu with a cute set of horns.

If you’re looking to make a tutu – this is the perfect tutorial for you!

tutu-cover

What you’ll need for the tutu is: 10 feet of tulle, an elastic band (or ribbon), scissors.

Cut the tulle into strips of 4-5 inches. Measure our your elastic band/ribbon around your waist, and tie the tutu around the elastic band or ribbon (tutorial on how to tie below). Keep going around the band/ribbon until you’re out of tulle.

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Tying the tulle:

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Keep the band around your waist to tie the tulle on easily.

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For the Sulley costume, I needed to add spots of purple. I purchased purple tulle pom poms and simply hand-sewed them onto the tutu.

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Now for the horns. I purchased a blue headband and cut out horns from felt. I stuffed the felt with some extra fabric and sewed the horns together and slipped them through the headband.

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Then I made some pom poms from yarn and glued them onto the headband (pom pom tutorial here).

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And that’s it! A cute Sulley costume to match an adorable Mike Wazowski! Creating costumes is so much better than purchasing. It’s unique and a great way to show off your creative skills.

What will you be this year for Halloween? Will you be making your costume?

Happy Halloweek!
Jay

  

DIY Cardboard Halloween Decor

I’m the type of person that decorates the house when it comes to Halloween. My husband, on the other hand, thinks that’s crazy. But that’s how it’s always been in my family. Our lawn was littered with Halloween decor for those trick or treaters. It’s so fun to get into the holiday.

Now that I have my own place, it’s no different. I love to decorate. But I don’t love those high-demand prices. Pro-tip, wait until the day after Halloween to get some of your decor. I always score some great items for 50% off, though I have to wait until the following year to use it. Nonetheless, it’s such a great deal and decor doesn’t have an expiration date. It’ll last.

But my favorite thing to do? Get creative and come up with some of your own decor ideas. For my Halloween ideas, cardboard is my primary tool. MG and I buy a lot of things online so we usually save the boxes. Simply use any cardboard box laying around for a project like this. Most importantly, use your imagination!

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Can you guess what I’m going to make from the outline below?

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Another hint for you:

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Final product – cutlery and a zombie barricade, all made from cardboard.  I want to add some blood to the knives, but I was recently home alone while MG was on a work trip. I didn’t want to freak myself out!

Final

Close up of the zombie barricade – simply draw some lines onto pieces of cardboard and tape them over a window. For the hands, I cut outlines on white poster board and then spray painted them black.

Zombie blockade

I also added some arms reaching through the banister of our stairs. They still creep me out a bit when I walk up the stairs. However, when I walk down, I feel like everyone is trying to give me high-fives!

Stairs - Zombie

Zombies

Paper and using your creativity, that’s all it took. What do you think? What are some other fun ideas you can come up with using cardboard and/or poster?

Happy Halloweek! Come back for a fun costume idea!
Jay

  

Pumpkin Patch and Carve Party

It’s Halloween this week! I’m going to dedicate all my posts this week to celebrate 10/31. As a kid, the best part was the candy. As a grown up, the best part is the creativity.

What I mean is that I try to DIY costumes, decor, and create some fun themed foods. Last year, I made Minion hats for the entire family. More impressively, look at our Halloween party from last year!

Every year my friends and I go to the pumpkin patch, and I’ll host a carving party (see last year’s post here). It’s fun that we get to start these traditions now and one day when we have kids, we can pass these types of celebrations down to them. The next couple of years will be interesting since our friends and even us, we’ll be starting families. When we have kids, these type of things will only better!

This year we went back to Pastorino Farm again (we always have such a great time there).

Pastorino's

Patch

Patch

This time around, we extended our patch outing to our fellowship group. The more the merrier! We started the Hayward Fellowship Group in January with about 6 people. We’ve grown to 15 people, which means more than double in size! God’s done some amazing things with our group, and I hope that He continues to teach us and surprise us.

Patch

Don’t laugh… the best part about this place – definitely the petting zoo! Perhaps my inner 5 year old kid comes out at the patch!

Look at this happy goat.

Goat

More importantly, look at this fricken adorable Llama! I wish I could take it home, but I’m afraid MG would kick me out of the house (tehehe).

Llama

We actually carved on a separate day because everyone else had plans after the patch. Nonetheless, an awesome carving party again!

Carvers

I bought a funky shaped pumpkin to carve this year. I bought it without an idea of what I wanted to carve, only that it spoke to me, “Take meee home!” So I followed its instructions and came up with this.

Pumpkin

And no pumpkin carving party is complete without roasting seeds. This is my special Garlic Butter Roasted Pumpkin Seed recipe.

Wash and dry your seeds. Add two tablespoons of melted butter, sprinkle garlic salt, mince 3 garlic cloves, and mix well. Then roast them for 60 minutes at 300°, turning the seeds over every 15 minutes for an even roast. So crunchy and delicious! And very addicting!

Seeds

Halloween gets me so happy and ready for the Fall. Once October is over, I feel like everyone starts to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas (only the best time of the year, if I do say so myself).

What are some of your Halloween traditions? Promise me you’ll come back to see my DIY costume, Halloween decor, and our Halloween party later this week.

Love,
Jay

  

Hong Kong with the Lams

Hong Kong was the last leg of our trip to Asia. We spent 2 full days and 3 nights here, primarily because our flight had a layover in Hong Kong before coming back to San Francisco. So we stopped for a bit.

To be honest, Hong Kong is never a place that is in the top of my travel list. Perhaps I’ve been too many times (3-4 times now in my lifetime). I go because my parents grew up here. I go because I can find Cantonese comfort food around every corner. I go because it brings me back to my roots. Hong Kong is just never that memorable to me… until now.

MG still has family members in HK. They took us around to some delicious restaurants and showed us places that were good for shopping. This part of the trip was mainly for visiting family/friends over meals and lots of shopping.

We ate at Chinese cafes for breakfast. You all get smashed into one small table, order food and tea, and quickly eat and move along. These places are the best for late night meals too!

Breakfast

On one of the nights, we walked through the city and took the Peak tram up to see the view.

City

Peak

View

View

If you’ve been following the news, there have been protests in Hong Kong for full democracy. We were not in any areas with immediate danger, but the area near the tram was occupied by protestors. We went on a little adventure to go see how the situation was – fortunately for us, it was calm and peaceful where we walked. I became the butt of the joke, and everyone said I was going to get us arrested for taking pictures of the protest.

Protest stairs
They made stairs to walk over the barricades! So smart!

ProtestThis was the scene at 11pm on a weeknight.

And one thing now crossed off my bucket list – eating Chinese mitten crab, aka hairy crab. As a little girl, I’ve always heard about these little delicacies, but it’s only edible in Asia. It’s basically a small crab filled with sweet, sweet roe. It’s prime season in October in Hong Kong, so when we decided to come here, I knew this was my must-do. And my in-laws satisfied my need (they are so good to me!).

Crab

Crab cooked

Crab
^^^ Look at all that orangey goodness!

And the absolutely best part about this trip? MG spoiled me with a new two-toned rosegold watch. I’m not allowed another gift for 2 years, but this lump sum gift was well worth it. Thanks love!

Watch

Have you been to Hong Kong before? If so, what are your favorite things to do?

I don’t have another overseas trip planned anytime soon, but I want to go somewhere else! The travel bug has bitten me. Where should I go next? Any recs?

Still going through that jet lag though,
Jay

  

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo was the highlight of my trip – it’s the big city! Packed with people, shops, and food – that’s my kinda place!

With over 13MM people living here, there’s always people everywhere. Shops open late in the morning at 11am and do not close until late into the night. I took charge as tour guide in Tokyo because there were many must-see items on my to-do list.

We took the bullet train from Hokkaido to Tokyo. Once we dropped off our luggage and checked into the hotel room, we set off to find food and shops. We headed over to the Shibuya district to do some night time shopping and dinner.

Shibuya Crossing is one of the busiest crosswalks in the world. All lights turn red and pedestrians flow into the street. It’s almost chaos!

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We had dinner at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant nearby the crossing, which was the coolest restaurant we’ve been to! Basically you sit down, order your nigiri sushi on a tablet, and they shoot out plates of sushi to where you sit. To feed 7 adults here was only $60. Can’t beat that!

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After dinner, we shopped a bit at Shibuya 109, a large mall with over 100 boutique shops with the latest trends (basically one huge Urban Outfitters). And on the way home, I had to take a picture with the Hachiko statue. This faithful dog greeted his owner after work, everyday at the subway station. The owner died at work but the dog continually went to the station to greet his owner everyday for 9 years after his death. I can’t get myself to watch the story of Hachiko but it warms my heart.

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The next day was an epic one!

We woke up, got breakfast, and headed over to (it’s my dream come true), a cat cafe!!! More well known cat cafes in Japan have 30-50 cats, and you can enjoy a light snack. There’s a small entrance fee to get in, but once you do, it’s basically heaven.

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^^^ This one is located in the Shinjuku district. It’s two stories, and you can sit and play with cats for an hour. After an hour, you pay for each additional 15 minutes.

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Japanese people love their cats! We saw some cats going for $10k at a pet shop. Lots of Scottish Folds, and I even learned about a new breed called a Munchkin cat. Muchkin cats are characterized by little short legs. Think corgi but for a cat!

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Don’t laugh but I want to say that this was one of the highlights of the trip!

We did a bit of shopping at Harajuku. This is where you’ll find people dressed up in cosplay and some extreme fashion styles!

Harajuku

Then we looked for beauty supplies – isn’t this a crazy shop?

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And we went to Akihabara to look at gadgets. It’s an entire district filled with all kinds of technology – you can literally find anything tech-related here.

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To top off the night, we went to a Yakini restaurant (DIY BBQ). Little did we know, we would come across wagyu beef. We ate ourselves silly with 4 plates of Wagyu, 2 plates of pork, 1 plate of lamb. It was by far the best meal during our entire trip.

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^^^^ Just look at that marbling!

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^ Grillmaster MG ^

The next day was the big typhoon. Lots of news publications said it was going to the best worst typhoon based on the last 14 years, but fortunately for us, it died down and it was only a half day of rain. We kept it safe by shopping at the malls near our hotel. That stormy and rainy night meant that I needed a warm bowl of ramen for dinner.

We found a place nearby, where locals line up for food. My in-laws (they really are the best) said they were fine with standing in the rainstorm for ramen, and so we did!

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The waiters pass you menus in line and take your order while you’re standing. Once you get into this tiny shop (basically can hold only 20 people), they place your food in front of you, and you slurp your noodles quickly. Japanese people eat so fast! As we’re eating, two groups have already gotten up and left. I would say that we ate fast, but clearly not as quickly as the locals. So much pressure to eat quickly!

But OMG… this was the best ramen I’ve ever had. Period.

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DSC00672Aren’t you craving a big bowl of noodles now?

The food in Tokyo is amazing. Any little shop that you find will have quality food. If you love shopping, this is also the place to be! There are so many shops and so many different fashion styles. People-watching, alone, is a great reason to come to this city.

Have you been to Tokyo before? If so, what did you do? If not, what is your must-see?

Wish I could live there,
Jay

  

Hokkaido

I’m back from my trip to Asia! I love traveling but those long flights are pretty killer… Our total travel time to get to Sapporo was 23 hours, ouch. It’s worth it to see how cultures are different in different countries.

Over the next three days, I’m going to be posting about my trip. We started out in Sapporo and slowly made our way south via a tour bus. Then we took a bullet train to Tokyo and ended in Hong Kong before coming home. Today will be all about Hokkaido.

Hokkaido is in northern Japan, with Sapporo as its capital. It gets cold, with snow in the winters, and this prefecture is also known for produce and meat. It’s where a lot of good seafood comes from! This is going to be a major photo dump – here we go!

Canal
^^^ Otaru is a beautiful little town. It really reminded me of Europe. Isn’t this a cute family pic?

Glass Museum
Japan has some awesome handmade trinkets – specifically this tourist town was known for glass and music boxes

Shopping
We shopped at many outdoor and underground malls

Ski Jump
We went to a ski jump museum on the tour.

Look at this amazing view! Looks so scary though – Don’t think I’ll be trying ski jumping ever…

Ski Jump View

We also went to see the Ainu people, an indigenous people of Japan. We learned about their culture and way of life. They are bear hunters and also have Shiba Inu dogs to help them hunt.

Lower Caste

Bear

Bear

We also went to a Hot Springs area while the sun was setting to end the day. Such a beautiful view.

Hot Springs

Hokkaido is known for their hot springs and public baths. And incase you’re wondering, yes, you have to go naked! Basically you have to shower there for a good 15 minutes or longer before you can soak into the public baths. They are typically gender separated, and all you get to cover up is a little face towel. The baths are filled with mineral water, at the hottest temperature of 43ºC which translates to 109.4ºF. So hot!!! You literally soak in for a few minutes and then immediately go into a cold water bath. All this helps with your circulation and increases blood flow so it’s beneficial for your body. Awkward at first, but it gets easier!

The next day we ventured to Lake Toya, a volcanic lake in Hokkaido.

View

And then we got on a boat!

Boat

Look at this amazing view!

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Later that evening, we went to the top of Hakodate to watch the sun set and the city come to life.

Hotate

We went to Towada-Hachimantai National Park to see the Fall colors. We missed the changing of the leaves to red by one week but we got to see a few Fall leaves.

Bridge

We also took a little hike – Hokkaido is so green

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Waterfall
^^^ Waterfall selfie

And now Lake Tazawa. Legend has it that a princess desired eternal beauty. A god told her to drink from these waters but she drank so much of the water that the Goddess Kannon cursed her and turned her into a water dragon. Then a prince caught a large fish from these waters and developed an unquenchable thirst. He continually drank the water and was also turned into a dragon. Eventually these dragons fell in love and their passionate love prevents the lake from freezing during the winter months. Also, the princess gets jealous of couples that takes pictures at this lake, which ends relationships…

We took the chance anyway!

Lake Tazawa

Lake Tazawa

Those were some of the main places that we visited. Here are some fun shots from the Hokkaido portion of the trip.

The sewer tops at the fish market were so cute! Lots of great seafood comes from Hokkaido – scallops, cuttlefish, crab, fish.

Fish Market

Remember when I said that produce is a big thing in Hokkaido? Look at the size of this apple!

Apple

Some of the hotels we stayed in were Wester style (your typical hotel), but there were a few that were Tatami style. It’s a traditional Japanese-style room with straw-like mats and no shoes allowed.

Traditional

While you go out for dinner, employees come and make the beds for you:

Tatami

Dinner
^^^^ Traditional Japanese meal in our kimonos

We wore kimonos every night to dinner – look how cute my little Mingus is!

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Dinner
This is what a traditional meal would look like – all prepped for you. Coolest thing? Look at that ice dome that holds my sashimi!!!

We also ate at a lot of buffets for breakfast and for dinner.

Breakfast
Look at my breakfast tray! Ahem husband… I expect this caliber of breakfast every morning!

Then there are these adorable pancakes that you can pick from during dinner. How could you eat such artwork?

Pancakes

We found a little shop that made fresh mochi – one of MG’s favorite desserts so we had to buy one. You pick a skewer and then add your own paste (miso or black sesame, or red bean). Just for fun, if you choose a skewer with a red tip, you get another free stick! Of course MG gets lucky. He had two servings of these things! You should have seen how happy he was when he found out he won.

Mochi

The roasted mochi from the temple was my favorite dessert!

Roasted Mochi

Tea ceremony
We also went to a traditional Japanese tea house where they served green tea and a sweet cake.

Cow Tongue
And one of our last snacks… grilled cow tongue. My in-laws are the cutest!

Hokkaido is a rural area of Japan, definitely not a city-life feel. Lots of greenery, lots of farms, and not much to do after 8pm. It was such a fun experience to see differences in lifestyle and learn about the Japanese culture.

Have you been to Hokkaido before? What did you do? Is this on your bucket list?

Come back for Tokyo tomorrow!
Jay
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We took a tour by Signet Tours through Hokkaido

  

Packing Light: Fall Edition

We’re leaving tonight! I can’t believe the day is finally here. Japan, here we come!

I couldn’t have asked for a better year for traveling. First Europe in the summer (Rome, Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, and London), and now Asia during the Fall. This time around, we’re going to Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

The thing I’m looking forward to the most – sashimi and sushi. I can’t wait to eat myself silly! I’m also ecstatic about shopping in Japan. I packed light but brought a huge suitcase to fit all my potential purchases (that’s the way to do it!).

Follow me on Instagram (user jayscup) if you want to see pictures while I’m on vacation. I will not be posting on my blog until I return so if you want to see what I’m up to or what I’m eating, follow me on IG!

Remember when I did the packing light list for the summer? I got some great feedback from you all, so here’s my Fall edition! It’s a great list for 2 weeks, weather ranging from 45 -65 °F. Such a range calls for lots of layers!

I’m obsessed with Madewell jeans as of lately (swooooon at the fit and quality). I’m also very fond of ankle boots right now! Just a tip, a girl should always have a chunky necklace to dress up any outfit. Now here’s my 2 week packing list:

fall-packing

Jcrew jacket // H&M biker jacker // Jcrew puffer vest // Madewell perfect chambray ex-boyfriend shirt in ferrous wash // UO cuddle up sweater // Zara sweater // Zara cotton t-shirt // Target long sleeve // Target vintage v-neck // H&M camisole // Target tank // Madewell skinny skinny jeans in Madewell rinse // Madewell skinny skinny jeans: rip and repair edition // Piperlime Pim + Larkin ribbed knit mini dress // H&M patterned dress // Asos chelsea ankle boots // Piperlime Sam Edelman petty boots // Nordstrom Halogen Kayla flat // Target paisley scarf // UO open knit scarf // Jcrew Factory scalloped necklace // Jcrew Factory tote bag // Tilly’s fleece lined tights // F21 Beanie // Target Totes floral umbrella // Target metallic clutch

Don’t forget your undies, socks, sleepwear, toiletries, chargers, technology, and flight entertainment (tablets, books, snacks, pillow). These differ for every person so pack what you must!

When packing keep in mind a few key rules:

1. Pack neutrals – They are classic and never go out of style. Plus, they match with everything!

2. Each piece of clothing should be able to stand on its own or match with something else. Chambray is best for this! I can wear it as a button-up shirt, a cover-up with a tshirt underneath, a sweater over with the collar out, or as a shirt underneath my vest. That’s 4 outfits with 1 shirt!

3. It’s not the time for a fashion show. I get it! You got these cute printed pants that match with your chic sandals. But let’s be honest here. That’s one outfit… Show that off when you get back home. Packing light means packing smart!

Now if only I could pack these guys since they are already in the suitcase voluntarily anyway…

Kitties

What do you think? Am I missing anything? Are you going anywhere for vacation during the cooler months? If so, where?

See you when I come back and follow me on IG!
Jay

  

Prepping for Japan

Eep! We’re leaving on Friday for Japan! It’s coming up so fast!

This year has been quite an eventful one so far – first we spent 3 weeks in the summer in Europe, and now we’re off to Japan for 2 weeks. I’m so blessed to be able to travel with loved ones and make memories along the way.

This week, MG and I have been prepping for our trip.

We got our shots on Monday (the travel nurse recommended Typhoid and Flu shots for the both of us). Ouch! Typhoid really hurts. We looked so silly coming out of the clinic with bandaids on each arm. Too bad at this age, you don’t get candy…

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FYI – if you travel overseas, get the typhoid shot 2 weeks prior to your trip. That’s when the vaccination actually kicks in. At least we’ll be covered the last half of our trip!

Since you don’t get candy anymore after shots, we treated ourselves at Target.

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We bought a bunch of munchies for our long plane ride. Those Outshine bars were obviously for a late night snack! My favorite snacks – Cheetos!

We even got haircuts for our trip! I was getting so sick of my long hair. No oomph anymore, and I just continually put it into a ponytail, blegh. So here’s to change! Short and sweet!

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I have to curl it in the morning now, but I’m liking the new texture! Also for those of your wondering, my skin is slowly healing. I still have acne, but it’s not as bad as before. Now I’m in the stage of whitening the dark spots. Any advice?

Of course a load of jeans also go into the washer, as we are finalizing the packing list. Always turn your jeans inside out when they go into the washer. Then hang dry all your jeans so that they do not shrink. Welcome to the jean sale…

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And the best part of prepping – MG did not want to bring his large laptop while traveling. Our iPad is first gen, and our secondary tablet does not have an attachable keyboard. So his biggest desire was a Microsoft Surface.

He made his desire known at 4pm on Tuesday. After picking up our dry-cleaning at 6:30pm, we headed over to a Microsoft store and dropped some money. Now MG has a new toy! When he first asked me and I said yes, he was shocked. He didn’t expect me to say yes to such a large purchase. But why not? Let’s be spontaneous today!

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It’s so pwetty! It’s going to be a great tool for when I need to design graphics. I can’t believe you can open Microsoft Office and all the Adobe Creative Suites with the Surface. It’s a computer but in tablet form; amazing. I’m a Mac user myself (I’m using one to type this post), but Microsoft is really stepping it up!

Come back for my packing list on my next post. I have some fun items that I recently purchase for our Japan trip!

What do you do to prep for a big trip?
Jay