Thursday, December 8, 2016

US East Coast trip Thanksgiving 2016

I haven't done a non-Japan travel related post in a while, but that's because I really haven't gone anywhere other than Japan in a while! The last time I traveled to the east coast of the US was back in November 2013.
For this trip in 2016, we went over to the DC area for the Thanksgiving weekend and didn't have a real itinerary + we were doing a lot of family things, so I don't have a lot to blog about but just wanted to have a quick post here for memory's sake. Plus, I hardly get to dress for the autumn season, and I want to show what I chose to wear for this trip!

Day 0 -1: November 22-23 Travel day and arrival in DC
We left for DC on November 22 at around 8pm, so I was able to work a full day, go home, shower, change and finish packing last minute items and then get to Honolulu Airport about 2 hours early. My parents had TSA Pre-Check privileges but I didn't. As it turned out, the non-TSA Pre-Check line went way faster even though the TSA lady had to pat me down because apparently I had a lot of metal on.

For the plane ride, I decided to wear my Liz Lisa bordeaux check top/skirt set up. In Hawaii, I had on my Liz Lisa metallic combination sandals to wear through TSA and on the airplane until we had the layover. I wasn't sure how comfortable it was going to be for the 12 hours it was going to take us to get across the country, but since my carry ons included all the clothes I brought for the trip, I wasn't worried too much about it bc I could always change as needed.

My parents booked us Extra Comfort seats for the 8 hour portion of the flight to Houston. United Airlines has this new thing where the in-flight entertainment is your own wifi enabled device and you just have to use the wifi on the plane to access their app and watch movies. You can also pay more to use the wifi for other phone features, but I was content to try and sleep most of the way there since it was a night time flight anyway.

We arrived in Houston at around 7am the next day and had about 1.5 hours until the next scheduled plane was set to take off. Since they don't provide meals on the flight for free, once we de-planed, we went to go look for food to eat for breakfast. We don't have Einstein Bros in Hawaii but this seemed like a good option to me even though we probably overpaid x3 at the airport price lmao.

It was good that we took the time to find something to eat because our flight was delayed by at least half an hour to an hour. I'm not sure about the exact time, but it did seem to take a long time wtf. We were delayed boarding the plane and then it also took us a long time to take off once everyone was on the plane as well. I think it had to do with the pilot for our flight being delayed arriving at Houston.

The plane from Houston to DC was much smaller and did have a personal screen but you had to pay for pretty much everything lol. Again, I tried to sleep through most of this flight (about 2 hours once we finally took off) or watch movies already saved to my phone, so I didn't worry about that too much.

It was so nice to finally land in DC about 13-14 hours after leaving Hawaii wtf. I changed into my Liz Lisa lace up pom pom pumps in Houston so I would have close toed shoes ready for the colder weather lol. I had also taken out a portion of my coat from the suitcase and had it ready in the tote when we finally left the airport.
The check in bags arrived without a hitch, thankfully (I always fear they're going to get lost in the transition between planes or something) and our family friend was ready to pick us up immediately.

We were able to settle down at their house, and I unpacked all my clothes for the trip to check if anything needed ironing lol.

After we got our bearings, my mom wanted to go to Georgetown Cupcakes before they closed, so we headed out. Since there was a long line that continues mostly outside the small shop, I decided to layer my turtle neck under the check top and also throw on the top half of my Liz Lisa 3-way trench coat. I was still a bit cold because we were just standing in line and not moving much, but it was more-or-less okay.

After about 20-25 minutes, we finally got into the shop.

They had already run out of some of the flavors for the day, but we still ended up getting a dozen since we had taken the effort to get over there and stand in line.

When we finally returned to the house, it was already dark at 5pm! My mom bought this inflatable turkey for the house and I snapped one photo right before we left and the other as soon as we returned after just an hour lol.

And then it was time for dinner! My dad helped prepare the cedar plank salmon. Basically just throw brown sugar and garlic on it lol. 

For dessert, we had an Edible Arrangement someone had sent to the house and ofc the cupcakes!
We closed the day by doing some daily errands and returned to the house around midnight. I was definitely ready to sleep somewhere that wasn't an airplane seat at that point lol.

Day 2: November 24 Thanksgiving
The next day was Thanksgiving! We didn't end up waking up and getting ready until almost 11am lmao. I guess we were more tired from flying all day than we thought.

Wearing socks in the house is so different for me, especially on hard wood floors, so I would just slide around instead of picking my feet up lol.

Happy Thanksgiving!

There was a small football game scheduled for noon with some of the people in the neighborhood/their family/friends/coworkers. I wasn't planning to play but it was nice to be outside with all the autumn colors! We walked to the field from the house and the sun was out so initially I just brought the inner part of my 3-way trench paired with my bordeaux Liz Lisa puff pleats OP, but people kept asking me if I was cold, so later my mom went back to get the top half of my coat just so I could avoid that lol.


It was a fairly small touch football game but it seemed like most people were having fun, including people like me who were just watching from the sidelines!

The weather was just beautiful during the game!

Once the game was over and everyone dispersed, we returned to the house and it was time to start prepping for Thanksgiving dinner! I don't have any pictures of the prep because I was busying helping and didn't want to keep taking my phone out and having to rewash my hands every time, but here was the end result!
Mashed potatoes, rice, another kind of potatoes, string bean casserole, egg noodles, salad, deviled eggs, various other vegetables, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, turkey and prime rib, cranberry sauce, rolls, everything you probably think about for Thanksgiving. This menu is a lot different than what my family usually does in Hawaii but it's a lot more traditional which was really interesting!

Dessert was 3 different kinds of pies (I think apple, pecan and pumpkin), homemade ice cream and homemade whipped cream, homemade lemon crunch cake and also Liliha Bakery cocoa puffs that we brought from Hawaii!
We actually ended up eating as soon as all the food was done being prepared at around 03:45pm which suited me just fine because I had a late breakfast and already wanted to eat something anyway lol. And it doesn't make sense to fiddle with lunch when dinner should be the main attraction!

After the early dinner, we were just kind of relaxing around the house and chatting when Rebby (@rebikkuma) messaged me that she was going to do some Black Friday shopping that evening at Tyson's Corner! That wasn't too far from where we were staying and my brother needed to buy something from the mall anyway, so we decided to drive over and I was able to meet up with her <3
Matching in Liz Lisa autumn 2016 bordeaux items except Rebby is actually properly accessorized and I'm basically just wearing a dress and that's it lmao. It was so, so, so nice to actually meet up with her in person! She has the most amazing Liz Lisa wardrobe, and I know that if I have a question about something, she probably knows about it. We basically just kind of stood on the side at the place where we met up by the escalator and talked for a while until I had to leave to run some daily errands with my family at the end of the night, but it was easily one of the highlights of my trip and a great way to end my Thanksgiving!

Day 3: November 25 Einstein & Picking a Christmas tree
We ended up sleeping in quite a bit this trip which is a little due to jet lag and a little due to having to do errands late at night lol. But in reality, most days we didn't have anything in particular that we needed to do that day (especially in the morning), so it didn't matter much.
At breakfast, I noticed the cuff detail on my cardigan matched the big collar on the cat in the cup lol.

My mom really wanted to take a family Christmas picture, so we ventured out into the National Mall area. It took us a while to find a parking, but eventually we did and since it was a bit far away from our intended photo spot, I was able to just continue to enjoy AUTUMN.

My mom decided that it would be a good idea to take a photo with Albert Einstein! Apparently he's a really popular photo spot but we had yet to take a picture with him, so it seemed like now was just a good a time as any.

Does my OOTD look familiar lol? Same cardigan and skirt that Rebby was wearing the previous day. This was one of my planned outfits and I knew I was going to wear it during the trip but it just so happens that it didn't coincide correctly to actually twin with her :|
Liz Lisa cut cardigan, Liz Lisa cat cup skirt and my standard Liz Lisa lace up pom pom pumps and Michael Kors purse

My mom trying to take a picture of a squirrel.

We returned from taking the photo and then headed out again shortly after to go pick out a Christmas tree with our family friend. There was this place that had planted trees that you could cut down, but the bigger ones were already cut and sitting on the side because they had come from Pennsylvania.

It was really neat to see all the different kinds of Christmas trees that we don't get in Hawaii.

They ended up picking a 10-11ft tree :O which they can do because they have high ceilings in their house.

We ran a few more errands on the way back and then we dropped some people off and my mom and I went back out to do a little omiyage shopping. First stop - Target. We were looking for a backpack and just some other random items and there was one along the way. I didn't take any pictures of that because it wasn't particularly exciting. Even though it was Black Friday, we had missed all the Doorbuster deals so luckily we didn't have any crowd issues with parking or in the store.
Second stop - Trader Joe's. We don't have a store in Hawaii and it's one of the top places to bring back items from because of the large selection of things that we don't have access to at home.
It took us a while to sort out exactly what we wanted, what would fit in our suitcases and made sure that we had enough for all the people we needed to buy for. One of the items was ringing up incorrectly, so we did stay in there way longer than we needed to, but at least we got that done!

Not the best pictures, but we also stopped at Michael's (another store we don't have in Hawaii) to check out some of the sales.
Again, spent more of my effort actually looking at things rather than trying to get photos of the store lol. But we were able to get a few things that we wanted included a large light up stag (lawn decoration) as a gift for our family friend at a decent price. Also, I just want to say that my mom and I managed to navigate by ourselves in the dark on mainland freeways without really getting lost, so that was an achievement in and of itself lmao.

When we finally got back to the house, they had already started decorating the house for Christmas including getting the big tree in the house! It's really hard to tell how big it is in some of these pictures, but let me tell you, it was absolutely amazing to see IRL. I mean, I know malls and other big buildings etc have large trees, but this was actually a real tree in someone's house lol. Idk how common it is elsewhere, but I don't think we even get trees this size delivered to Hawaii.
They actually have a total of 4 trees that they put up around the house to decorate (top two photos are of the big tree and the bottom picture is of a different one in the sun room of the house) since they do a lot of entertaining during the holiday season and each tree has its own set of decorations. Most of it had already been put up by the time we got back, so it was really cool it see! We ended the night like this and it was a nice end to a great, low key day.

Day 4: November 26 Volunteering and more shopping
Our big plans for Saturday was volunteering at Happy Helpers for the Homeless.
Autumn colors on the way to the headquarters
We would usually volunteer with our church if we were at home during Thanksgiving, but because we weren't able to do that this year, my mom wanted to find another opportunity for us to give back. Most places that had been advertising for Thanksgiving help actually had more than enough volunteers, so we didn't actually do anything on Thursday, but Happy Helpers told us that they still needed help with their weekly (every Saturday) responsibilities and that we were more than welcome to come for that, so we did.
As it involved making sandwiches and I was around a lot of people I didn't know + I didn't exactly know what I was doing, I didn't try and take my phone out for any photos, but we basically just helped make about 300 bologna or salami sandwiches (some with mustard and some without). It seemed like they had too many people to try and deliver the sandwiches and if we had gone along, we would basically just be driving along behind them (and we were already kind of a ways away from the house), so we decided to leave it at that. It was quite a pleasant experience though and if we were back in the area, we would go back and volunteer on another Saturday given the opportunity. Happy Helpers was started by an 8 year girl (now in her 20s) who wanted to do some good. It's certainly evolved over the years and have a really great system. It's 100% volunteer powered with none of the staff getting paid, so all the money/donations go to help those in need.

I kept taking pictures of what I interpret to be AUTUMN.

We dropped off my dad and brother back at the house so they could watch football and my mom and I braved navigating by ourselves again to head out to Ikea lol. We also don't have this store in Hawaii and a lot of the great things you can buy really aren't suitable to bring back on an airplane, but there are still some small odds and ends that are easy to pack.
I was wearing my Tralala ladder lace top, Liz Lisa bordeaux sukapan and the top half of my Liz Lisa 3-way trench coat.

One good thing about Ikea is organization or just general room ideas even if I can't actually buy the thing and bring it home. I wonder if I can figure out how to get this same sort of acrylic organizer thing in my room...

We spent quite a bit of time in Ikea and by the time we were done, we were hungry so I looked up where the closest Olive Garden was on our way back, and we made a stop! This is yet another place we don't have in Hawaii. The infuriating thing about it though is that we are constantly bombarded with Olive Garden commercials -__-
We didn't want to spoil our dinner (and it was already 4pm by that point), so we ordered an appetizer and also shared a main dish which they split and plated separately for us. Because the meal also included endless breadsticks and salad, it was definitely more than enough food. I have to admit we were total noobs about the little screen thing on the table and how to use it though. We kept trying to get the waitstaff's attention to pay the check, when we could have just paid it with that thing wtf.
We looked around at the mall nearby the Olive Garden for a bit and then the sun was setting and it was time to head back to the house!

...where we got back just in time to help prep for pizza making!
Dough waiting
Topping ready
Cooling area
Table is set!

Someone spreads the dough, then adds the sauce

Add cheese and other toppings as desired

Then it goes out to the grill where it cooks for approximately 3-4 minutes!

Then it comes back in and I was responsible for the cooling and cutting/preparing for serving. Since this was more-or-less a low pressure job that didn't involve touching the pizza too much, I was actually able to take some pictures!
I didn't get a picture of every single one and some of them look quite similar but we had 14 pizzas in all! It took us about 70 minutes from start to finish, which is not to bad I think considering there was just one grill and it was super cold outside which slowed down the process a little bit since the temperature has to be really high for the grill attachment to be the most effective.

Once dinner was over and we cleaned up, my family headed out in the direction of my brother's school and went to watch Allied at a close by movie theater. I had no idea what the movie was about, so I didn't have any expectations about the characters or plot, so I enjoyed it! We got out just around 11:30pm and dropped him off and called it a night.

Day 5: November 27 Smithsonians
We started off our last real day of the trip very slowly lol. We actually woke up at a regular hour finally, but my parents went to go run an errand in the morning and I didn't have much to do except wait around for them.
We ate a late breakfast and then saw this squirrel in the backyard that had taken a blueberry muffin out of the trash bin! I'm sure squirrels are not a big deal to most people on the mainland but we don't have them in Hawaii, so we find them so funny to watch. I wanted to get closer but I didn't want to scare it away either so I just have these far away photos.

I wanted to actually do something with the day, so I convinced my family to go to (at least one of) the Smithsonians! It's not that far of a drive, so even though we were a bit late in the day and possibly would have a hard time finding parking, we figured we could always just turn around.

As a matter of fact, the parking wasn't easy but it certainly wasn't difficult. We only had to go in like two or three circles to find street parking and since it was Sunday, we didn't have to feed the meter lol. Our spot was even pretty close to the museum we wanted to go to and it was just a short walk away.
My OOTD is my Liz Lisa glen check cape OP paired with the top half of my 3-way trench.

We decided to try out the Air & Space Museum!

I started out trying to take pictures of everything, but then I realized that was easily just distracting from the experience, so I put my phone away and tried to just pay attention to more of the exhibits. As a result, the photos I ended up with are just a bit random.

It's a pretty expansive museum including a movie theatre and the planetarium section now. It's really cool to see all the different kinds of displays and models, many 1:1 scale. And the entry fee is free!

My brother is not the biggest fan of museums apparently and we only got through like 2-3 galleries before we decided to hit maybe 1-2 more and then head out to something else. You could definitely spend just one day in the Air & Space Museum alone, reading each placard, watching all the mini movies, experiencing everything it has to offer. I think we stayed maybe about 1.5 hours at the most lol.
We exited out the opposite side of the building and walked across the mall with the Capitol on our left and the National Gallery of Art just in front of us.

Super bright yellow tree just outside!

The fountain just inside the entrance is impressive with all the foliage but even more impressive was the ceiling height lol. I wasn't able to get a good picture of it though.

Similar to in the Air & Space Museum, I thought it would be better to just snap a few random photos here and there but spend most of my effort just observing what was in front of me without distracting myself with trying to also take pictures.
Like the other museum, we didn't stay long. My dad had a pamphlet that had listed all the current highlights exhibited at the gallery and we tried to look at those and then just left lol.

We walked back to the side of the street the Air & Space Museum was on

and walked just past that to the Botanical Gardens which is one of the closer attractions to the Capitol.

There was a long line outside of it but thankfully it wasn't for the part of the Gardens that we wanted to go to lol. I think it was for a (model?) train exhibit?

They had these fun little mini versions of the monuments and other important buildings just inside among the plants. This area was pretty crowded so I wasn't able to get a good picture of all of them though.

There are two different floors for this part of the gardens. It was so warm in this area wtf but I guess the plants prefer that. It almost felt like we were already back home in Hawaii. I thought my hair was going to wilt for sure.

We continued to just walk through the Gardens. I thought the medicinal plants portion was pretty interesting!

And I took a picture of this just because of DaTuRa lmao. I didn't even realize that was what the flower actually looked like. But again, cue a small spam of random photos -

As we were leaving the Gardens, you could tell the sun was already lowering itself in the sky and it was going to set soon!

We returned to the house and just dropped off and picked up a few things before heading back out towards my brother's school.

We had dinner with him and some of his classmates/friends that he invited at a restaurant nearby the campus. I had pizza...even though I had just eaten that the night before as well lol. We also stopped at a grocery store to get breakfast supplies for our flight the next morning and I picked up a brownie for dessert!
Our last full day wasn't overly exciting, but it was nice to do something casual as a family again. Because my brother has been away at school and hasn't been able to return home for a while, we haven't done something like that all day together in a while. We dropped him back off on campus and that was the last time we were able to see him before leaving since our flight was early the next morning!

Day 6: November 28 Travel Day
The "last day" of our trip essentially just consisted of travel. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 07:00am, so we woke up, finished packing the daily sleep essentials and then just hopped in a car to go to the airport at 05:00am!

The United Airlines area was reasonably uncrowded at this time and we didn't have any special issues checking in with the self-service stations.

My OOTD was Liz Lisa frill blouse, Liz Lisa check skirt (recycle from Day 0/1), Liz Lisa cut cardigan (recycle from Day 3), Liz Lisa flower applique beret and the cropped/outer portion of Liz Lisa 3-way trench coat and ofc Liz Lisa lace up pom pom pumps. I decided to wear the pumps to the airport 1. so I wouldn't have to pack them but also 2. I had managed to figure out how to take them off and put them back on without taking 4 minutes every time by this point.

Also, I had TSA pre-check for this return flight which means we got to skip the long security line and I also didn't even have to remove my shoes at all! We were able to pretty quickly get through TSA and reached out gate without much hassle.

Not very many more interesting things happened this day. We basically spent about 2 hours getting from DC to Chicago and then after a 1.5 hour-ish layover, we flew about 8 hours home to Honolulu. The biggest hullabulloo was probably that they changed our plane for the Chicago to Honolulu (where the seat config went from being 3 - 5 - 3 to 2- 5- 2) and some people had a hard time finding their new seats, but thankfully it wasn't a huge issue for my family and we were seated without a fuss.

In reality the trip was really only 5 days because the day we spent traveling on airplanes can really hardly be considered, but it felt like we were gone for a long time! I haven't spent so much time away from work in a while (except for Japan trips which have a much different feel) and I also haven't been to the mainland US in a while either! It was really interesting to spend time with my family and family friends, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday and experience the end of Autumn on the east coast of the United States. I think I like visiting places with that kind of weather, but I have a feeling, I might come to hate it if I actually had to live with it consistently for months year after year >,<. (It would be nice not to sweat all the time though haha.)

Thank goodness for my staples on this trip - Liz Lisa 3-way trench coat and Liz Lisa lace up pom pom pumps (+ my Michael Kors gold purse)
I didn't get a lot of pictures of me in it, but I did often wear both pieces of the coat at night when it was colder, so I'm really glad I brought it. The top half was great to have when I knew I would only need a light layering piece that would probably be removed once indoors for an extended period of time, but both pieces together was a great combo for when the temperatures dropped after the sun set. The pumps were more comfortable than I anticipated and once I got the hang of taking them off and putting them on quickly, I only loved them more. They did get a little scuffed up over the course of the trip, but it was worth I think. I was able to put together 5 different outfits that didn't overlap much but all still matched cohesively with the same pair of shoes which is great. I would gladly travel with these pieces again!


  1. Autumn time looks really nice ^^ Thanks giving food looks so yummy as well. Love the outfits you put together. Rebby + Emi = cuteness overload :p

  2. your mom trying to get a picture of the squirrel made me laugh so much! haha and I love that turtleneck look, it's so cute for fall! Also, I didn't know you don't have a trader joe's in Hawaii! If you ever get a craving for anything hmu and I'll send it to you!

    1. Haha there's so many mainstream things on the mainland that we don't have! We didn't even have Victoria's Secret or Bath and Body Works until maybe about 10 years ago? (or a little less?) Thank goodness they brought locations here because the B&BW stuff was so heavy to pack and bring back haha. Thanks for offering!

  3. Oh my gosh! You got to meet up with Rebby! :O How on earth did I miss this?! You two are so cute! ><

    When I read the part about Olive Garden (and everything else) I sighed because I totally know what you mean. Why do they play commercials here for restaurants we don't have? When I was growing up they'd always play Wendy's commercials but we didn't get one until I was in elementary school. :|

    1. How did I not know Wendy's was a late bloomer in HI too?

  4. Nice trip u had :D haha omg that turkey infront of the house is so cute XD so good that u met up with Rebby, u guys looked lovely 😊