Tag: Vacations!

NY Trip Day 2: Empire Falls

birchbox2So day 2 started on the late side as I had a cold coming on and had done a 48 hour marathon the previous 2 nights.  Once I was up I took uber cars over to Soho and the Birchbox Soho store.  I wanted to make the trek out to the store because I had heard about their ‘build your own box’ section and wanted to feature it on my channel.  I didn’t even know if they would let me film in their store but when I got there they couldn’t have been more accommodating.  They filmed segments for me and even gave me a free $300 value Vanity Fair special box! I’m thrilled with how the video turned out:

(Btw, if you haven’t subscribed to my youtube channel please do! I would really appreciate it)

After visiting the store and filming my video I went across the street to the Chobani Yogurt Shop and it was so yummy!  It was the best food I had in New York City.

chobaniI’m excited to try and recreate both of the yogurts I had.  It was savory on one side (Red Pepper, Harissa,  Feta, Mint, with Olive oil and chips to dip it in) and sweet on the other (Pistachio, Chocolate, sliced oranges, mint and honey).

Just the combination of flavors and textures was so delicious.  I can’t wait to recreate it.  A whole new world of yogurt!

After brunch I headed home to meet up with my sister Megan who took the train up from DC.  It was so nice of her to come up and spend some time with me.

flowers selfie We had a delicious lunch of the biggest salad I’ve ever eaten and then decided to go to the Empire State Building for the evening activity.  It was fun but a bit of a letdown.  The lines were so long and just to get to the 86th floor cost $32.  My feet hurt so bad by the time we got to the top and it was so hot in the waiting areas that it wasn’t my favorite.  I also hit my lip with my camera going through security which ended up bleeding more than you’d think!  Probably the only person to injure herself in line for Empire State Building.

You can see the cut above my upper lip.
You can see the cut above my upper lip.

That kind of standing and walking is really hard for me now and if I’m looking for what is ‘fun’ it will always be at the bottom of the list.  And vacations are supposed to be fun right?  But it was nice to spend the time with Megan and catch up and the view was pretty great.

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One thing I noticed about all of NYC is there are very few benches. Even by most of the bus stops there is nowhere to sit and rest. This was a major bummer to me but I guess it is the reason why it is the ‘city that never sleeps!’. No benches to sleep on!

So I finished day 2 having a good time but a little frustrated and sore at the same time. Birchbox Soho, Megan and the yogurt made it all worth it!!

NY Trip Day 1: RHAP Know it Alls 2

Well, I’m back from New York and I’m afraid I’m sick as a dog but I will try to get up some posts about my recent trip to New York City!  I had a blast cold, sore feet and all!

It started Tuesday night with a red eye flight starting at 11:30 western time and getting in at 6 am eastern time.

bye slc

The flight was ok.  I was able to get an upgrade and fly first class both ways which makes the world of difference (I don’t know how I’m going to go back to wedged in coach!).  I also had my cool sky ready kit with all you need.  I highly recommend getting one when you travel.

skyreadyI slept a little bit on the plane but not much and certainly not deeply.  But I did finish our book club book called Wonder which I thought was ok (I know other people love it but I thought it was kind of corny and didn’t love all the narrators but it was fine).  Eventually we landed in New York and I was excited to get going…

Well, it started out kind of rough with me losing my wallet.  I’m not sure what happened but my best guess is when I went through security they rearranged my stuff in different bins and I must have left it there.  Luckily my ID and Amex were in my backpack or it would have been a disaster. So I called the 2 cards I had in the wallet and got them cancelled when I got to the airport.  My phone was running out of juice so I had to buy a charger and find a corner to plug it in and call the companies and try to find out where the shuttle pick up was.  It was extremely confusing because the signs said ‘airport shuttle’ take the air train to Fredrick Circle or something like that.  I went all the way to the other side of the airport and it turned out it was the spot for the hotel shuttles not the type that I got.  I was so tired with no sleep and frustrated at my wallet but finally I got to the shuttle.

Unfortunately the driver was a madman and was zooming through alleys and around town and I was so close to throwing up.  I opened the window to get some air but it was big city air and I was beginning to feel like Homer in New York City vs Homer Simpson.  The city was out to get me!

thecityofnewyorkvs-homersimpson5_thumbA very tired weary creature I made it to the hotel and it was a nice affordable place called The Row in the Theater District of Manhattan.  My only regret is not getting a place with a pool/hot tub which would have been nice but it certainly filled the bill for my needs.  Once I got there I crashed for a few hours before the festivities started in the afternoon.

hotel
At the hotel

I also got breakfast ordered in and that was delicious.  Great thing about New York is you can have anything delivered.  That would be so nice.

Yummy breakfast delivered right to my hotel
Yummy breakfast delivered right to my hotel

Then around 4 I met up with the other Rob Has a Podcast (RHAP) patrons that were attending the event.  Here’s where it started to get fun.  We went to a bbq place ( I know bbq is not what you think of in NYC but it worked out) and it was so great visiting with everyone.

Here we are at the bbq place.  There were probably 40 of us!
Here we are at the bbq place. There were probably 40 of us!
brianne
Made a new friend in Brianne from Washington DC who is originally from Utah and also LDS

It kind of warmed my heart to meet such great people in something as random as a podcast gathering.  It can be easy to be cynical of the world and all the problems.  All you have to do is watch the news and it can feel like we are all going to Hell in a hurry.  But then you have moments like this where you see that there are lots of great people out there trying to live good lives and all it takes is something as silly as a podcast to bring you into a kinship with them.  The truth is we aren’t as different as we sometimes think and it was a nice reminder- especially with what a rough day I had getting there.

We then went to Gotham Comedy Club and got ready for the big live Survivor Know It All’s event.

know it allsThe club was different than I had imagined.  I thought it would be like a theater but it was more tables and chairs and they had us jammed packed in.  My only regret of the night is there wasn’t enough time to mingle and meet everyone.  I have friends I’ve gotten to know through the patron group who I wasn’t able to meet which was a bummer.  Next time it would be nice if it was more like a cultural hall kind of space where you could mix and mingle and get around to everyone but it was still really fun.

There was a 2 drink minimum so of course that means 2 shirley temples for me! (No alcohol in STs just in case you were wondering.

shirley templeThen we all watched the episode together and during the commercials Rob Cesternino (the Rob of Rob Has a Podcast) made different announcements and we got to see his wife Nicole, last seasons winner Natalie (and Miss Survivor winner) and Mr Survivor winner Spencer from Survivor Cagayan get his belt.

nicole rhap
Rob, Nicole and Stephen Fishbach
miss survivor
Natalie Anderson getting her Miss Survivor crown
belt
Spencer getting his Mr Survivor championship belt
rhap2
Stephen and Rob doing the podcast

Then Rob and Stephen did the podcast and some in the audience had a chance to ask questions.  There were a whole bunch of former (and one current) Survivors in the audience and they particpated in the podcast as well.

Once the podcast was over we had to clear out pretty quickly which was a little bit of a bummer but I got the chance to get some photos with some Survivors.

spencer
Here I am with Spencer and Brice from Survivor Cagayan (one of my favorite seasons)
rob
The man of the hour Rob. So fun to meet this great guy!
twinnies
Got to meet the twinnies! Nadiya and Natalie who were on the Amazing Race for 2 seasons and Survivor 29. Natalie was the winner of that season.

It ended up being a really fun night.  After the club wound down we went to another club but I was so tired at that point (I had been up for basically 48 hours!) and my new friend Karen helped get me an Uber ride (what a find that service was) and I went home.

So with all the junk in the 48 hours I had been through it was still worth it to have a unique experience, with some great people and I was glad I took the leap and went on the trip. Worth it!

When I got back to the hotel I got a stramboli which was actually one of the only unhealthy things I had during the trip.  Seriously it was one of my most healthy New York trips ever!  It was delicious!  Great way to end the day.

stramboliStay tuned to the blog for day 2, 3, and 4.  In the meantime ‘Achoo!’ I’ll be sneezing away as I recover from this illness.  Take care!

Tampa Trip Day 3-5

So I am back in Utah and I think you can tell it was a great trip because I only found time to post once very quickly.  I was having too much fun!

Day 3-

This was Sunday and Kim had gotten us tickets to a Rays/Red Sox game.  It was nice to have one day away from the beach (only one) and we rooted for Boston.  There was even a fight! 😉

Play ball
Play ball
The fight! Cleared the benches
The fight! Cleared the benches
Always like a good hot dog
Always like a good hot dog
Kim, the red sox fan at the game.  I became adopted sox fan for the day!
Kim, the red sox fan at the game. I became adopted sox fan for the day!

When we were driving home it started to rain, thunder, lightning and hail.  You can see it in the trip video below.  For the next 3 days it rained but always on our way back to the house, so it was perfect timing!

Each night we got home around 5 and we ate dinner and watched a movie.  We viewed Frozen, Tangled, Emperors New Groove and Return to Me!  So fun.

We also had a ton of laughs over a Mormon romance novel I brought with me that was pretty bad. See description below.

beach11

Yes, he smelled like rootbeer…So romantic.  It was very funny.

So, there were a lot of laughs and also some heart to hearts.  Kim and I had been friends in high school but she wasn’t one of my best friends.  After 17 years of not seeing each other and being from different parts of the country, religions, and everything else I wondered if we would have anything in common, but we had lots.  It turns out we had both been through similar career struggles.  We had had bosses that made us nuts and anxieties to deal with as working women.  We both shared dating struggles and being single.  We both had lots of memories and had a similar sense of humor.  We both love New York and love the beach.

It certainly is another reason to be grateful for facebook.  Kim and I had reconnected during the election because we are both fiscal conservatives and needed some political venting (she lived in NY at the time).  We would chat on fb and I had inquired about staying with her in New York some time.  Then she told me she had moved to Tampa.  Being the nice person she is she invited me to stay there and being the bold, without boundaries person I am I said ‘let’s do it!’.  Most people would probably shrug off an offer like that as being polite but I just had a feeling to go for it.

So many times in my life I have been benefited by not worrying about being polite or following some idea of normal behavior and this is certainly one of them.  I’m glad I didn’t worry about what someone’s ulterior motives might have been and took her at her word.  I think we are both glad and it will be the first of many such visits.

Day 4 and 5-

Monday and Tuesday were pretty simple- beach, beach, beach, beach.  All together we went to Madeira, Passe de Grille, Honeymoon Island and Fort De Soto.  Passe de Grille was my favorite because of the closeness of the beach to the parking and the cute little town.

beach18 beach14 beach13 beach12 beach10 beach9 beach8 beach7 beach6I feel blessed.  Blessed to have seen God’s beautiful oceanic creations and even more blessed to have made what I know will be a life-long friend.

At least to me vacations should remind you of why you work everyday and how perfect before starting a new job to remember the potential for happiness that lies in my heart.  It’s a good day to be Rachel Wagner my friends.  A new job, new opportunities, beautiful memories, great friends and a happy heart.

I’ve done my fair share of complaining on this blog and I want to let you all know that never have I been happier than this moment right now. 🙂

This video is a little bumpy so I don’t know if you will enjoy it but it shows how beautiful a trip it was and how much joy it brought me.

Pied-à-terre

SSDGR186R

This weekend I am getting a little break.  A break from work, waiting, life and hopefully headaches. Tomorrow begins the 2014 LDS Storymakers writing conference in Layton, ,UT.  This is my second year attending and I am so looking forward to it.  I write more as a hobby than a career but I think I’d go even if I was just an avid reader.

I’m such a nerd that I actually miss taking classes and learning new things in college.  If I could think of something I wanted to study and had the money I would totally go back to school.  Yes, it is challenging but also very rewarding.

And yes, I could learn all of these things on my own without a conference or a degree, but I have found I always do better with such support in place.  That’s why I still take voice lessons because I know without them I wouldn’t sing and singing is important to me.

But I think even more than the learning I am grateful for the break.  I’ve taken  my fair share of long vacations and those are great too but there is something nice about a long weekend that gives you just a breather from ordinary life.

I think that is why I like movies, they are just a little break from life.  A novel or a TV show are a  a serious time commitment where a movie is just 2 hours to devote to a story.  I love that.

I’ve always liked the concept of the pied-à-terre.  This is a  word  (french for foot on the ground) that in real estate means a small second home that is meant for temporary stays and trips.  A lot of times you will see these types of homes in the cities like businessmen in Tokyo may have a pied-à-terre in the city when he works late while his primary lodging is a 45 minute drive home.

Ideally for me these types of homes are bare-bones, simple places that you wouldn’t want to live in full time.  The house my grandparents had in Hawaii was a good example (especially the cottage).  It wasn’t fancy, had no air conditioning and provided simple basic features.  It would be a challenge to live in that house full time but as a stop over to sleep and eat it served the purpose very well.

Granted most pied-à-terre are owned by very rich people and are not the type of places I am referring to.  This is more my idea of what I would want, what appeals to me.  I’d love to have a place that is simple, easy, and a break from everyday life.

It’s not a vacation but just a chance to change scenery for a day or two.   It’s organized, similar whenever you go, and easy, that is what I want in a break.  I don’t want to sweat or have sore feet or any of it.  I just want to rest, learn, swim and reflect.

My boss Kelly lives in Portland and they go up to Bend Oregon frequently and from what I can tell it’s a pretty simple place.  She works the whole time she is there but it still feels like a break for her and her family.  That’s what I want. That’s my goal. I’d like for my regular life and vacation life to flow naturally together without the sense of loss I feel after a fully immersed vacation.  This is just a natural part of my life, making the planning and recovery easy and the experience all the more rejuvenating.

It’s interesting because I used to have such a desire for travel in my early 20s and it has basically died out.  One time I was talking  with my brother and he said ‘I’m over traveling’  and I thought he was nuts but now I find myself thinking the same thing.

My Dad and sister are in Germany right now and another sister is going to Europe for a month in June. On one hand, I am a little jealous of the exciting experience they are having and on the other I feel tired just thinking about it.  The appeal is gone.

But a pied-à-terre? That sounds appealing.  Someday I would love to own a place by a beach somewhere.  That’s my goal- the tinier and simpler the better! For the moment LDS Storymakers and staying in a Hilton Hotel for the weekend will suffice.   It is just the pied-à-terre I need while I wait, worry and work.  I’m so excited!

I’m also very excited for my trip to Tampa coming up next month!  Thanks to my friend Kim for inviting me.  To relaxing, learning, resting and starting afresh!

What about you guys?  Have you found your desire to travel diminish over the years?  What about a pied-à-terre?  Is that concept appealing to you? Let me know.

relax

 

 

 

Disneyland Day 3

Some things you might not know about me from reading only this blog- I have hard time being happy (even in the happiest place on earth) when I am A. Tired, B. Sore, or C. Hungry.  I realize this may seem very ‘first world’ of me but there you go.  We are all weak in our own way.

Well, today started out pretty good. I was feeling strong after my relaxed day yesterday and ended up spending the morning alone at California Adventure.  I like spending time by myself.  I like that nobody can hear me groan and I can go at my own pace, eat what I want, do what I want.  I suppose this is slightly unhealthy of me but again that’s the way it is with me!

Meeting the big man himself.
Meeting the big man himself.
At Muppets 3D.  Don't I look Judge Dredd?
At Muppets 3D. Don’t I look Judge Dredd?

So everything was going well and then after a few hours my feet were beginning to hurt and I headed over to Disneyland to meet up with my sister and Mom.  I waited for the omnibus which was taking forever.  Then I decided to take the train and as I was traveling realized I didn’t have my cell phone.  I had to wait until the train stopped, walk back to the omnibus area and it wasn’t there.  (It was also close to 100 degrees plus humidity!).  I went to lost and found and spent time filling out a report with a rather unhelpful lady (and very hard to understand).

I also didn’t know my sisters cell phone number or I would have called her to meet up.  My Mom didn’t have her phone.  Anyway, I had no idea what to do. Then we called my Dad ( I realized I only have 4 phone numbers memorized.  Not good!).  He was able to reach Madi’s phone and she actually had my phone!  I guess someone had found it and called the last number which was her.  Thanks kind stranger.

Anyway, I was pretty stressed out and then when I went to get back into the park I couldn’t find my ticket.  Despite taking a photo of me and stamping my hand they still require a ticket. Sorry Disney but that is dumb!  The whole situation made me cry.

tears
So that’s what I look like when I cry friends

A lot of this has to do with my frustrations over my pain and my unmet expectations of training and working hard on my physical fitness.  I was hoping to have more energy and fun this trip.  It was very disappointing.

So that was the drama for the day (worthy of a Disney movie right?).  Don’t worry though. It got better quick.

A smile back on my face
A smile back on my face

I’ve learned from this trip something about myself.  I like vacations where I can sleep, reconnect with myself and soak in sun (and swim as much as possible).  My Mom referred to Disneyland as a ‘walking vacation’.  Here’s what I now know:  I don’t like walking vacations.  I like sleeping vacations.

My style of vacation
My style of vacation

Good thing to learn about myself right?

So, I don’t want you all to think I didn’t have a good time or am ungrateful because that’s not true.  I did have fun.  I am grateful, especially for my Dad, everyone at Poler and my roommate for making this all happen.  Thank you so much!

Now tomorrow I’m going to the beach.  HURRAY!!!!  I can’t wait.

So you’ve got to keep learning and growing.  Hope you are all doing well.

 

 

 

 

Disneyland Day 1

So we had a successful day in Disneyland.  I was amazed at how much we go through in 1 day.  I honestly did almost every ride I wanted aside from the one’s that were closed (thunder mountain railroad and haunted mansion are closed 😦 ).  Its hard for me to stand and walk for hours.  I was hoping as I got in better shape that would improve but it really hasn’t.  In fact, if anything its gotten worse as my pain sensitivity and fibro has increased.

Tomorrow I plan on taking things more slowly with breaks.  I also bought shoes today that should help.  I just wish my feet and back weren’t so sensitive.  It would make things like this a lot more fun.

It was also super hot today.  99 degrees with high humidity.  Made the whole day challenging for me; nevertheless, it is the happiest place on earth and my first vacation in 3 years.  Still had a great time and am very blessed.   The prices also seemed more reasonable than I remembered them. I don’t know if that is because everything else has gotten more expensive or prices at Disney have gone down. Either way it wasn’t too bad.

Here are some photos of the trip so far.

Madi, Sam, Rachel
Madi, Sam, Rachel
Sam was a sweetie and carried our stuff in his backpack.
Sam was a sweetie and carried our stuff in his backpack.
My BYU shirt actually got a lot of questions and comments.  Go Mormons!
My BYU shirt actually got a lot of questions and comments. Go Mormons!
It was so hot had to get ice cream
It was so hot had to get ice cream
dole whip. Only other place you can get them is the Dole Plantation in my beloved Haleiwa. Been dreaming about them.
dole whip. Only other place you can get them is the Dole Plantation in my beloved Haleiwa. Been dreaming about them.
Entrance to park
Entrance to park
3 Wagner girls
3 Wagner girls
Mickey Mouse!
Mickey Mouse!
Minnie
Minnie
Brother and sister
Brother and sister
Hurray comfortable shoes!
Hurray comfortable shoes!
Madi and I.  Her feet weren't as big a problem and she could have gone 24 hours at the park. Sigh...
Madi and I. Her feet weren’t as big a problem and she could have gone 24 hours at the park. Sigh…
the girls at the castle
the girls at the castle
Yeah, space mountain kind of whooped me.  I'm not as young as I once was
Yeah, space mountain kind of whooped me. I’m not as young as I once was

 

More Hawaii

Hi friends!  I’ve been having a great experience here in Hawaii.  I can tell you one thing is for sure I have been pushing myself each day to get as much as out of the experience as possible.  The interesting thing is with all the swimming, hiking, and walking I’ve done my blood sugars have been super low- even with eating fairly poorly.  My average for the week is 106.

What have I learned from this experience?  Evidently I need to work out like 6 hours a day to keep my sugars very low!  Olympic training here I come!  I’m just kidding but it does seem that exercise and possibly reduced stress have a larger impact on sugars than what I eat.  I also started the onglyza just before I left so that may be a factor as well. Anyway, my body never fails to be interesting!

Like I said we’ve been packing it in with tons of fun things with some of the highlights being Pearl Harbor, Aloha Swap Meet, Ko Olina lagoons, Waimea State Park and Waterfall, Sunset Beach, Sharks Cove, Dole Plantation and the Polynesian Cultural Center.  My body is so sore but in a good way. My hair is also great here.  So curly!

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking here which has been fun.  It is kind of a challenge because the kitchen, and our budgets, are very limited.  Yesterday I made french toast with whole wheat bread and sautéed pineapple instead of syrup.  It was great.  I like experimenting in the kitchen with limited resources.  It makes you creative.

I also find I can eat all day here.  I’m constantly hungry. (The other day I polished off with no problem a barnyard burrito, which is just as big and delicious as you might guess). I think the hunger is because I am boiling hot but also because I am exercising so much.  It is also nearly impossible to keep hydrated.

Anyway, here are some photos of the trip.  Enjoy!

At the Aloha Swap Meet
USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
All 3 of us at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Me at the center
ko olina lagoons
Lilly pads on the trail to the falls
the lush greenery at the falls
I thought this was a pretty good photo of a flower
love this photo of me
that's me with the life vest. I wore one because the rapids were quite strong and I thought it would be more fun to be able to float
You can see me waiving.
The Dolphins that we saw at Waimea Bay! So exciting!
Waiting on the boat at Pearl Harbor. Such a spiritual place

I know it is kind of lame to look at other people’s vacation photos but I hope you enjoyed them.  I’ve been working to take better photographs on this trip.