Changes are in the Air!

How appropriate considering the first day of fall was just a few days ago.  Anywho... On to the purpose for this post!  I've been doing a lot more research into blogging... The different platforms, blogs that I love to read for different reasons, designing my own blog etc. etc. etc... But the big thing I've been looking up is Blogger vs. WordPress.  Now... According to my archives I have been using this blog for three years already!  I'm a very sentimental person and I hate to part with things I've grown accustomed to.

However, majority of the reliable sources (and I say reliable as in bloggers I trust/enjoy) have made the switch to WordPress.  Some have been with WordPress from the beginning of their blogging "careers", and others used to be in the exact same boat as me: using blogger because it was much simpler and seemed easier to use.  Over this past year I've learned that "nothing worth having comes easily".  So... I finally decided to take the leap and at least make an account so I could still use Simply Honest. Simply Real.

I have to admit... The first 24 hours after that switch was a nightmare for me.  I hadn't felt so overwhelmed by a new site like that in so long!  That's when I decided to unplug myself from my blogs yesterday.  I needed to clear my mind and center myself.  I decided to analyze what was making me feel so overwhelmed so I can conquer it and get the ball rolling again.  I realized that it was almost like how I felt when we moved from Hawai'i to Washington (is that a bit dramatic? haha...).  I had taken so much time to build this little niche to call my own in this blogspot account, and now I've moved into WordPress.  A community I have never seen or used before.  Totally new to me... A blank slate.  I couldn't even find a theme I liked, and the customization settings were frustrating me (a little tip: never switch blogging platforms after 12 am... It just causes unnecessary frustration and sadness...).  I went to bed thinking, "Maybe I should just stick to blogger... I made my pretty little site and I'm content there."

But then it occurred to me... Why did I move to Washington in the first place?  What drove me to make a WordPress account?  I did it, knowing all the risks that I'd be taking, but more so motivated by the possibilities and opportunities that could arise with such moves.  I keep saying over and over and over again, but this year really is about growth and change for me.  In big, small, significant, and non-significant ways.

So!  I want to invite you to my new home!

I'm still trying to learn my way around the neighborhood, but each time I'm on it I begin to feel more and more at home.  I hope you're just excited about this move as I am!  The url is much simpler now, but I hope the content will stay just as interesting, if not, become even more interesting to you!  If you have any feedback or input for the new blog... Please feel free to leave them in the comments on the new site!  I hope to see you there!

What Balance Means to Me...

Today's 30 Days of Lists prompt is "What Balance Means to Me".  I've always been a pretty organized person on the surface.  What I mean by that is, I'm good at looking like I'm organized... But if you ask Thomas, it's more of an organized chaos.  =] I knew that when Chloe was on her way, that would have to change.  I was no longer going to be taking care of two people's business (yes... I handle a lot of my husband's appointments and such.  Ask his family.  Any functions or reminders... They call me.  Not him.), but also a third mini person who would be relying on us to make the decisions for her.  I could not drop the ball on this one! 

I knew that I would have to find more balance in every aspect of my life.  Here are a few of the main ones that I've been working on.

Through trial and error, and a lot of patience I think I've found a way to balance all the important aspects in my life.

What are some ways that you try to restore balance to your life?  Do you meditate or do yoga?  Or maybe go for a nice evening walk alone, or with someone special?

HoltFamilyVlog 09.24.2014: "Games is Life."

Today was a beautiful day here in Washington.  It wasn't as rainy as the past few days have been.  I woke up not feeling too good... It was one of the mornings when you wake up and you feel like you didn't sleep at all.  Meh... So I spent most of the day trying to get rid of my headache, and I eventually took a nap.  Since I slept for a few hours, Thomas basically entertained Chloe today.  =]

If you know Thomas, you know that he's quite a hardcore gamer.  And has been for pretty much as long as anyone can remember (just kidding... that may be a slight exaggeration).  It's just a part of him... But I think it adds to his funny personality. =]

Do your other halves have any guilty "hobbies" that they can't live without? =]

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Good night from Chloe! She's so funny... She started off facing the OTHER way. =]


Some of My Favorite Authors...

I wish I could have a more profound list for today's 30 Days of Lists prompt: My Favorite Authors.  I really need to get back into reading!! Well... Here's what I could think of off the top of my head!

Lois Ann Yamanaka is a local author from Hawai'i.  She wrote books that were very relatable for people who grew up in the islands!  I mainly tried to stick with books/authors that I have never gotten tired of, who have written books that I feel like I could read over and over again.

What are some of your favorite books and who are your favorite authors?

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HoltFamilyVlog 09.23.2014: First Day of Fall!

If you didn't know, today was the first day of fall!!! For us Hawai'i kids... This changing of seasons is a big deal to us.  I've always loved the fall/holiday season, even when I lived in Hawai'i.  I just loved the atmosphere and spirit it brought.  One of the main reasons for why we left all the sunshine for more overcast skies, is because we prefer rain over heat.  Chloe's never really played out in the rain before, but she's always been eager to explore outside.  It was no surprise to us that she totally enjoyed this sweater weather!

This rain gutter was even more interesting with all the rain water gushing out of it...

I love seeing them walk together.

Please enjoy today's vlog!  We all agreed that we're pretty excited for what this holiday/fall season may/will bring!

Are you and your family excited for this upcoming fall/holiday season?  What are some family traditions that you look forward to?
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Don't Tell Anybody But...

I absolutely love the prompts for this month's 30 Days of Lists!  I love how they can be interpreted or done in so many different ways: serious, funny... You name it!  Today's prompt is 'don't tell anybody but...'.  Since this is my first time participating in #30Lists, I decided to share some info about me whenever possible so other listers/bloggers/readers can get to know me a bit more.

So... Here's a few of my confessions =P

I'm really enjoying the challenge that 30 Days of Lists presents to me everyday!  I feel like my problem when it comes to crafts (and even this blog...) is I would run out of ideas and then I'd start to feel defeated.  Aside from one or two 'quick pages' that I used in the beginning of the month, I started challenging myself to create my own designs for my lists.  Even though I've had many "brain farts"... I've pushed myself to crank something out and I always end up surprising myself.

What are some tips or techniques that you folks use to avoid a creative burnout?

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HoltFamilyVlog 09.22.2014: Happy, Dancing Baby!

Today's vlog is a shorter one.  I had my 24 week doctor's appointment today (which went very well... But we'll get into those details a bit later on down the road). But after we came home I had a bit of a headache... So I ended up taking a nap.

The weather is definitely changing!  The air is getting crisper and all the leaves are turning such beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange!  I'm hoping we can get outside for a bit tomorrow to enjoy our first day of fall!!

Good night from Chloe!!

Are you guys just as excited for fall as I am?! ^_^

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Meal Planning for this Week...

I just have to say... My family loves. food.  We also really like grocery shopping.  So... While some people dread it, we like to spend time as a family walking around the supermarket/farmer's market etc.  Due to our love of markets... We're pretty flexible with our meal planning (today's 30 Days of Lists prompt).

Here's what could possibly be on the menu for this week... Or maybe next weeks.

I would really like to get into meal planning... I know it helps you to shop more efficiently and ultimately save money.  But it's hard with an indecisive hubby... Any of you have any great tips and tricks that you have for cooking for your family?

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HoltFamilyVlog 09.21.2014: Nature Baby

Can you believe that today makes one month of vlogging?!  You can check out our first vlog here... It's when we find out the gender of our little one. =]  It's crazy to see how much has changed in just one month... It makes me even more excited to see where this road can take me!

Our little bookworm.

Anyway... We didn't do anything special today!  We went grocery shopping... again.  Sometimes we just walk around and end up walking out with only a handful of things.  We like to look at all the produce and different foods.  And it's just fun to be out and about together.

Try as I might... Nothing will get this girl to leave her books on the shelf for more than a few hours.

It was another nice afternoon in the PNW, so Chloe got to explore outside again.  She was totally intrigued by one doorstep that she came across...  Please enjoy today's vlog!

What are your favorite family activities for end of summer/beginning of fall?
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One Lone Podcast & Pandora Stations I love...

I decided to change today's 30 Days of Lists' original prompt of Podasts I love to One Lone Podcast & Pandora Stations I love...  There's only really one "podcast" I listen to and I don't even listen to the podcast version of it haha.  I watch it on YouTube.  And well... One item just wouldn't be a list!  So, I decided to also include my favorite Pandora stations!

I shuffle between these Pandora stations depending on what mood I'm in.  Can you tell that I love Holiday music... And piano tracks.  Enjoy my list for today!

When the Kids go to Sleep is put on by Shay and Collette (aka Katilette) Carl from the YouTube channel, ShayTards.  This couple left everything that they knew in Idaho and moved out to L.A. with their children to chase their dreams of starting up their own studio, Maker Studios.  Fast forward five years later and that dream came true tenfold!  They recently just sold Maker Studios to... Disney.  Yes... You read that right... Disney.  I watch their When the Kids go to Sleep podcast on the corresponding YouTube channel.  They talk about anything and everything under the sun, but mostly motivational and inspirational talks about how anything is possible if you truly want to chase your dreams.  Funny thing is... I never really watched any of their things until we went to VloggerFair about a month ago... I never knew who they were or their story until then!

Just thought I'd share some thoughts on my one lone podcast that I like to watch... =\ Haha.

I would love to know what some of your favorite podcasts are... Leave them in the comments below!


HoltFamilyVlog 09.20.2014: Old MacDonald Had a Farm!

Today was another fun filled day with Chloe!  It was a really nice afternoon up here in the Pacific Northwest so we decided to hang out outside for a little bit!  Chloe always loved to look out the window when she was little, and now that she can walk she's having so much fun exploring!

We notice that this little girl has a thing for grass!  It's so funny because most babies that I've known don't really like grass at first!!  She seems to really like playing with it!  It takes us even longer to get to where we wanna go because she always has to stop and check out any new patch of grass she comes across... But it's totally worth the smile on her face.

It's so much fun to watch Chloe discover and learn new things.  She really amazes me every single day with something new that she's learned or picked up!  I've noticed that she likes to try and sing to "Old MacDonald Had a Farm".  So, whenever I hear her making similar sounds to it I sing the song for her!  Today she absolutely amazed me at just how well she knows the song for such a little one!  Please enjoy today's vlog!

Were your little ones afraid of grass?  Or are they nature babies like Chloe!  Also, what nursery rhymes do your kids enjoy you singing to them?

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A Step in the Right Direction

If you've been following my blog for the past few months... You may have noticed a new addition to my sidebar!  This weekend I just received notification that my blog was selected and approved as a Top Mommy Blog.  I have a lot of big goals for Simply Honest Simply Real, and one of the main ones is to really connect with other bloggers who have similar interests as me.  Being accepted into this directory of mommy/family blogs is an indication that I am taking a step in the right direction and is motivating me even more to keep going.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

So!  Here's how that cute little button on my sidebar works.  Anytime you visit my blog for the first time in a 24 hour period, please click that button!  It'll take you to the Top Mommy Blog website, but more importantly,  it'll count your click as a vote for my blog.  The button opens up a new window, so you can just close that tab/window to return to my blog.  It's not a contest or anything... It let's Top Mommy Blog know that people are reading and are interested in Simply Honest Simply Real.

Thomas has really been encouraging me to get back into writing.  If I can use my writing and creativity for something good in our lives, may it be documenting our lives or meeting a bunch of great people, I'll take it!  Thank you all for reading and supporting me through this journey... It truly means the world to me.

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Guilty Pleasures...

Today's 30 Days of Lists prompt is guilty pleasures.  I think I've been doing a pretty good job of controlling my guilty pleasures this pregnancy.  When I was pregnant with Chloe, I was eating icecream multiple times a week!  I'm surprised I managed to stay within my goal of only gaining 30 pounds up until the last two weeks of being pregnant.  It was probably all the walking Thomas made me do in order to get the icecream... I won't complain, it kept me in pretty good shape.

Anyway... I digress...

Here's my list of guilty pleasures:

So.... What are some of your guilty pleasures? =]


HoltFamilyVlog 09.19.2014: "Oh, There! I felt it!"

Today, I was finally able to catch Thomas feeling Peanut moving!  It's so funny because Chloe was the total opposite!  She would be moving and responding all the time to daddy.  Not this little one, the second daddy comes around she plays hard to get!  Well, she's gonna run out of room to hide sooner or later!  I'm glad I was able to capture this moment in our vlog today!

I can't imagine how it must be for the daddies!  They watch us mommies go through the pregnancies, and we feel those little movements a lot sooner than they will!  Even though this little girl is being shy with daddy, I'm glad he's been able to feel her move for at least a week or so now.  Enjoy Thomas' reaction when he feels his baby girl moving.

Any of you other mommies have pregnancies that were very different from one another?  If you're not a mommy, have you ever felt a baby move in someone's belly before?  Thomas always asks me what it feels like.  He wonders how we don't freak out the first time it happens to us!  I told him it's the mommy in us... You're more excited and happy than anything else!
Happy Friday everyone!

I feel coziest when...

Today's 30 Days of Lists prompt is so appropriate for this week!  Every time we leave the house I see more and more leaves changing colors.  It's also getting a lot cooler and the sun doesn't shine as much (which is totally fine... I've always loved the rain/cloudier days.  Is that weird?).  When I think of fall and winter, I think of cozy sweater weather, hot chocolate/tea, and Christmas candles!

Here's my list for today!

What are some of your necessities for a cozy night in?  A good book or your furry friend at your feet?


HoltFamilyVlog 09.18.2014: Baby Bookworm

If you've been following along with my daily 30 Days of Lists posts, you've probably figured out that one of my hobbies is reading!  I love reading blogs, books, news articles, you name it.  Anyways, it seems that Chloe has the same love for books as I do.  She's always taking all of her books off their shelves and she flips through them all the time.  Today we read a Curious George: Curious About Christmas and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you hear? (just to name a few)!

Enjoy today's vlog!

What were some of your favorite children's books?  Do your kids or grandkids have a particular book that they love to read over and over?

Things I Do That I Wish Made Me Money...

I probably could've made today's 30 Days of Lists a mile long to tell you the truth!  Thomas and I are always brainstorming ideas and thinking about our passions to see what our calling is.  We truly believe that God has a plan for us... A way that we can make a living for ourselves while staying true to everything that's important to us.  People may say we're naive... But I say we're two very motivated people with a lot of faith that it's possible to make a living for yourselves without sacrificing your happiness.

Anyway... I digress... Here's my simplified list! =]

After checking out some of the lists that have been posted, I really should have included taking pictures too!  Ask anyone who's close to me... I never have enough memory in my phone because I take so many pictures (of anything and everything). ^_^

Are there any quirky little things that you do... Or maybe something extraordinary that you wish you got paid to do?

Have a great day everyone!


HoltFamilyVlog 09.17.2014: Crazy Christmas Lady!

Yesss... Crazy Christmas Lady strikes again!  To be honest, these sightings are probably just going to become more and more frequent.  I don't know how to explain how excited I am for this fall and holiday season!  Every time we leave the house I'm pointing out to Thomas all the trees that have leaves that are changing color on them. ^_^

Is anyone else this excited for the upcoming fall/winter season?! No?... Just me?... Give me sometime... I'll get you in the spirit! =]  Thanks for checking out today's vlog!

Reasons to _________.

To be honest... I had such a hard time getting started with this list!  I kept going back and forth with different ideas when suddenly it hit me!  Why not list what I've come to love about 30 Days of Lists?!

So... Here ya go!

I have to admit... I was a bit nervous about taking on 30 days of lists (ask Thomas... I used to have a tendency of wanting to start projects and slowly losing momentum... ).  I'm so glad I decided to push myself though!  I'm definitely excited for the next round of #30Lists!  Yay for trying and discovering new hobbies!

HoltFamilyVlog 09.16.2014: (The Beginning of) Autumn Leaves

Can you believe that summer officially ends in one week?! Also, Christmas is 100 days away (well technically 99 by the time this post/vlog is live).  But holy moly!!  Anywho... We spent today cleaning the entire apartment.  But we of course still managed to have a lot of fun with the Munchkin!  Please enjoy the vlog!


Posters on My Wall Growing Up...

Today's 30 Days of Lists was a good flashback for me.  Since we made our big HI to WA move just over five months ago (you can read a little mini 75-days recap here), it was fun to take sometime to reminisce about the bedrooms I had growing up.  My mom always did an excellent job at personalizing our rooms with homemade (but totally cute and awesome) frames filled with pictures and phrases.  I decorated the room that I shared with my sister at our dad's house with posters I got through school book fairs and catalogues.  As I got older I started to follow in my mom's crafty footsteps and began to create my own posters to decorate our room with.    Here's a list of a few of the posters from the school book fairs/catalogues that used to adorn our walls growing up!

What were some of your favorite posters and trinkets that decorated your room growing up?

HoltFamilyVlog 09.15.2014: Getting Ready for Christmas?!

Yesterday's vlog is a short but sweet one!  It's filled with a bunch of my favorite things: baby giggles, Thomas' mom, Target, and Christmas things!!  Yes... I'm one of those crazy Christmas all-year kinda people.  I just love the feeling in the air during the holiday/fall season... ^_^

Enjoy the vlog!


Favorite Cliches...

There are just so many great prompts for this month's 30 Days of Lists!  Today's prompt?... Favorite Cliches.  

"Marry your best friend."

I am so blessed to have found my best friend at such a young age (13 to be exact...).  Thomas and I have really watched each other grow up from being teenagers with attitudes to [young] adults spreading their wings for the first time and even starting a family.  When I think of what defines a best friend... I think of someone who will always be 100% honest with me (even when it may hurt). Someone who knows me maybe just a little bit too well.  Someone who is able to know how I'm feeling and even what I'm thinking without me saying a single word.  I think of someone who I can have some pretty bad fights with... But at the end of the day there are no hard feelings, just lessons learned.

I don't know how I would've been able to build a foundation for our marriage without truly being Thomas' friend first.  The level of trust that we have and how well we know each other truly is the result of a deep friendship that has been growing over the span of more than (...holy crap) a decade.

"A baby changes everything."
And any other cliches about how much becoming a parent changes your life.

Thomas kept telling me that once we had a baby the way I look at the world would be totally different.  And I knew he was right... And I would agree with him... But I don't think that either of us truly knew the extent to which our babies would change our lives.  To be honest, when I was growing up I never thought I would want to live on the mainland.  I knew I wanted to travel, but I never really considered actually raising my family on the mainland.  After losing our jobs last year and becoming parents, Thomas and I really started to analyze the opportunities around us differently.  We also started to really take a look at what kind of future we wanted for our family.  That's when we made the decision to give life on the continental U.S. a shot.  We're only young once (haha... another cliche I should probably add to my list)...  And what everyone tells us is totally, 100% right: I don't want to be struggling later on in life when I should be carefree... But I don't want to be unhappy either.  I would much rather struggle now while pursuing what truly makes us happy.  Even possibly falling a few times while trying to reach for our dreams... But as long as we learn our lesson and get back up... We're going to keep reaching to better our lives.  Because that's what happens when you have a baby... They motivate you to be the best and provide the best that you can.

"Nothing worth having comes easy."

Nothing that I thank God for every night came easily to me.  They all came with their own form of pain, sadness, criticism, struggle, etc. but at the end of it I have a beautiful list of things to thank God for.  From the night we found out we were going to have Chloe, we've tried our best to throw our hands up to God.  Leaving it all to him.  We put in the work by applying for jobs, going to the interviews, making sacrifices, doing the research... But we leave the outcomes to Him.  I ask Him to give me the strength to take the rejection as Him telling me that that's not the opportunity for me... While also asking Him to give me the courage to step out of my comfort zone to take risks and put myself out there.  I may come up against rejection and criticism... But if it makes me happy and I'm being true to myself and my values.  I'll make it.

So, what are a few of your favorite cliches?

HoltFamilyVlog 09.14.2014: Chloe and Spaghetti

I think that it's pretty safe to assume that when spaghetti and a kid cross paths... It's gonna end up getting pretty messy!  I hope you enjoy yesterday's vlog!


Best Places to Find Inspiration...

I'm excited to see what everyone else has for today's 30 Days of Lists prompt: best places to find inspiration.  Here is my list for where I draw inspiration from sometimes!

Amanda Rose Zampelli's blog is actually where I first heard of 30 Days of Lists!  I had been getting lost on the internet searching for inspiration for my own blog.  This was back in March, when I was kind of starting to lose momentum with keeping up with my New Year's Resolution of trying to put up a new blog post every week.  As I looked more into 30 Days of Lists, I had learned that it was a growing community of all different types of people (crafters, bloggers, just people who like to write lists, etc...).  The prompts seemed intriguing enough, and the commitment level was totally manageable.  You basically put as much or as little effort into this daily challenge... So long as you put together some sort of list... All while encouraging me to get my creative juices flowing at least once a day for a whole month.  Anyway... that's my short summary of how I even got into this daily listing challenge, and how I found Amanda Rose Zameplli's blog!

I believe I found the last two blogs on Pinterest while looking for any health related blogs.

I loved how bubbly, friendly, and real Julie Fagan from Peanut Butter Fingers was.  After browsing her blog for just a few minutes, I really felt like I was getting to know her!  Her style of writing and daily posts continue to inspire me even months after I stumbled upon her blog.

I found Erica Castillo's blog, To the Sea, when I was looking up healthy postpartum lifestyles.  Let me just say, power to you girl!  Erica attended UH Law School (another reason for why I love her blog: she spent time living in Hawai'i like me) and was right back in the classroom the Monday after delivering her daughter.  Her and her family are very well traveled (a goal that Thomas and I have for our family).  She also does an excellent job at documenting her children's lives (something I aim to do).  She is also very honest in a real and edgy way.

I just thought it was worth explaining how I found these blogs and a few of the reasons for why each of them inspire me!  I hope you enjoyed some of the places that I get my inspiration from.  My family also inspires me... As well as motivate me.  Enjoy yesterday's vlog!