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#lummi2015

Every August for the past few years, I’ll be at my friends’ house while they are packing for their family Labor Day weekend. and every August, little William has asked me if I was going to Lummi. This year I was finally able to go, and it was so much fun.

#lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net

Lummi is a pretty small Salvation Army camp in northern Washington.. ON AN ISLAND! It’s SO CUTE.

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One of the coolest parts is that the camp is located right on the beach, so we spent decent amounts of time there, treasure hunting when the tide was low.

#lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net#lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net #lummi2015 // stephanieorefice.net

I was so grateful for the beach, the puzzles, the drives to the Islander store, sleeping in a tent, and drinking coffee with people I love so very much. It was a quiet, relaxing weekend to buffer between Nashville and returning to work.

One evening I snuck away to the beach to spend some time with the Lord, and I shared with him how wonderful it is to be so loved and so welcomed into people’s lives. I got to spend a weekend with grandparents and uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews and great-grand children.. all people I already knew and loved prior to that weekend. Family is such a gift – to those born into it and to those welcomed in.

#blessed.

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California Adventure – Day 2 & the Halters

The best April 2nd of my life, hands down.

We started by going out for breakfast. I was sandwiched in-between Lucy and Layla, which is my all time favorite place to be. We started a synchronized eating team, taking bites of food at the same time to help them focus on eating.

My left-hand(ed) girl, Lucy:

lucy // stephanieorefice.net

and my right-hand(ed) girl, Layla:

layla // stephanieorefice.net

It was so much fun to spend the day with them – it was kind of surreal to drive to where they’re staying, hang out, and sleep away from them. I’m so used to falling asleep and waking up at their house. But this whole trip was so I could see these beautiful little faces and I am so grateful I got to see them for a little bit.

The whole day was really relaxed – we spent a lot of time sitting in the warmth of the backyard, sometimes talking and sometimes just sitting and watching the kids play football.

april 2 // stephanieorefice.netLucy especially loves my Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera, so before I left I made sure to stock up on film so that we could add to their collection of pictures we’ve taken together. Usually I end up keeping the not-so-great pictures but this time I felt really sentimental (and apparently really selfish) and I kept the super cute ones, like the one of Layla and her cup and Jackson and Lucy.

It’s actually stupid how much I love these two little twins. I am already scheming and dreaming up a longer trip to visit them in Nashville, hopefully no later than August. Since September of 2013, I’ve seen them once every 3-4 months, and as long as I’m in a season of my life where that’s possible, I’m determined to make it happen.

In case you want to get caught up on these two:

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California Adventure – Day 1 & Disneyland

Last week I took a (verrrry) quick trip to California. I wish I could have stayed one or two or seven more nights.

After landing we got our rental car and headed towards Anaheim. But on the way I saw a Chick-Fil-A sign and IT WAS ALL OVER. I needed Chick-Fil-A and I needed it ASAP.

CHICK-FIL-A!!!! // stephanieorefice.net

Once we finished our gourmet meal, we met up with Jess and Andy and WE WENT TO DISNEYLAND!!! I love Disneyland so much I just want to throw up.

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found my new house 👸✨🌟

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disneyland // stephanieorefice.net

  • I’ve said for a LONG time that the Disneyland Starbucks needed their own “You Are Here” mug… AND I ALMOST DIED WHEN I SAW THEY FINALLY HAD ONE!! Don’t worry, I got one.
  • We spent over an hour in the Indiana Jones line.
  • Then we saw the cutest little cow with pink bows in her hair. I love you, cute pink bow cow.

You know what’s brilliant about Disneyland Starbucks? They have COCONUT syrup! paired with caramel syrup, iced coffee and cream… it is SO DELICIOUS.

Disneyland Starbucks // stephanieorefice.net

disneyland // stephanieorefice.net

  • How beautiful are the flowers around this window?
  • The last time I was at Disneyland was with Jess, and we didn’t take a picture together so I’m glad we remembered to this time.
  • While we waited in line for Indiana Jones, we carried on the “where is the Indiana Jones ride?” conversation that I’m basically having NONSTOP. While we waited in line for the tram to take us back to the parking lot, I realized that behind the palm trees ahead of us was a bunch of fake green hills that were probably ON THE INDIANA JONES RIDE BUILDING.

Hey, can we all make this blog really popular so that maybe Disneyland will hook me up with a day of walking around and finding out a bunch of secrets? Sounds like a plan to me. 🙂

 

It’s crazy that this wasn’t even a full day in California – I only woke up and fell asleep in California for one day, but for the sake of not having one giant post, I’ll write about that later.

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How to earn free flights with Southwest Rapid Rewards

How to earn free flights with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points // stephanieorefice.net

My friends don’t ask me what airline I’m flying anymore, because I always fly Southwest. I usually travel alone, so open seating doesn’t bother me, and I LOVE that bags fly free. Not only that, they offer competitive prices (especially when you factor in the money you save on the checked bags).

As I mentioned in a post last week, Ryan and I are flying to Southern California and it only cost $24 for the both of us. I believe that the way to make rewards/loyalty programs work the best for you is to be 100% completely brand loyal. That said, I’m sure some of these tips would roll over into other air reward programs, but I can only speak confidently on what I know.

First, I’m going to show you my RR (Rapid Rewards) points for 2014 and 2015.

How to earn free flights with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points // stephanieorefice.net How to earn free flights with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points // stephanieorefice.net

Let’s discuss the blue items in the list. The blue items are flights. I usually buy two one way tickets whenever I fly anywhere because instead of paying one large sum of money, I’d rather pay two smaller fees. There are three different levels of airline tickets with Southwest: Business Select, Anytime and Wanna Get Away. Business Select is the most expensive and offers 12 points per dollar spent. Wanna Get Away is the cheapest and offers 6 points per dollar spent. I’m cheap; I always travel Wanna Get Away fares.

My account history shows the following flights:

  • January ’14 trip to Nashville (1,061 points)
  • May trip to California (round trip – 926 points)
  • September trip to Nashville (1,820 points)
  • January 15′ trip to Nashville (1,492 points)

Those points alone are 5,299 points. That would most likely get me a one-way ticket on a weekday to a city on the West Coast. But flights aren’t the only way I earn Rapid Reward points!

 

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off to nashville.

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Rapid Reward Dining

Do you have a debit card? Do you ever go out to eat? If you answered yes to these two questions then you need to sign up for Rapid Rewards Dining. You link a debit card or two or three or four or however many you use, and connect it to your RR account. They have a list of restaurants that give you 1 point per dollar spent when you dine. Then if you fill out a feedback survey you get additional points on top of that. I’ve earned 81 points from that. You can see that for awhile I was really consistent in that, and there’s absolutely nothing to lose by being faithful to the Rapid Rewards Dining Restaurants. You just earn more Rapid Rewards!

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big plans for today! 😂😂😂

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e-Rewards

Many years ago I was invited to be a part of a survey panel that eventually became e-rewards, an invitation only survey panel. One of the options on redeeming credits earned is Rapid Rewards. There are other options like iTunes gift cards and Starbucks cards, but I decided that since it’s not actual money, I’d rather bulk up my RR account to get free flights.

InstaGC, Swagbucks, etc.

I swear by Swagbucks (all about brand loyalty!) and once redeemed 10,000 Swagbucks for a $100 Southwest gift card. They currently don’t offer SW gift cards BUT they offer PayPal money which could be used for paying for a flight.

InstaGC is similar to Swagbucks and offers $10 – $500 Southwest gift cards. Southwest limits the amount of gift cards you can use for airfare, so it’s ALWAYS best to get the highest priced gift card you can.

Rapid Rewards Shopping

On the Rapid Rewards website is an option to earn points by shopping online. Each online retailer offers a different point per dollar. I’ve never done this because I prefer to use my online shopping to benefit Swagbucks. If I was really trying to save up points for a big trip, I would definitely use this option. When you shop online, make sure you only stick to things you would have purchased even without the point incentive or else you’re not actually earning a free flight – you’re paying for it with a few dollars here and there in other useless expenses.

Rapid Rewards Credit Card

As you can see in my Rewards history, the most significant point-earner for me is the Rapid Rewards Credit Card. Thanks to a new member incentive, I have earned 27,337 Rapid Rewards this year because of my credit card. Even without the 25,000 bonus points I have earned 2,337 Rapid Rewards points (more than I’ve made on any one trip!) in the past 3 months. I make all of my purchases on my Rapid Rewards Card and make a payment each night I have charged something. That way, I am literally just collecting free Rapid Reward points.

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next stop NASHVILLE! ✈️👯💕

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When it came time to buy our plane tickets, I had 35,691 Rapid Rewards points. Each flight was 12,112. I had points left over and with this month’s credit card points, I’m already back at 11,467 points!

For the most part, when it comes to loyalty/rewards systems, I tend to hoard my points so that if there’s ever a moment when I absolutely need them (like say I want to take my favorite guy to meet my favorite little twins because they’ll be on our coast) I have sufficient resources to do so.

My advice is this: If you are in ANY sort of loyalty program, figure out every way to take advantage of their perks and point-earning. Find the ways your everyday purchases/decisions can help you earn additional points, and STAY LOYAL.

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Adventure // Bend, OR

You guys. Dating Ryan is seriously the coolest thing ever. I spent moooooonths just wanting to hang out with him and know him better and now I get to. AND I get to be open about thinking he’s really cute.

In 2013, I briefly dated a boy who wrecked me. He broke up with me via Facebook message, like a grown up.  The main issue of the whole thing was this weird tension between us where he would complain about me not being outdoorsy and I’d have no idea what he wanted from me, especially when the conversation was happening on a 6 mile hike.

It really messed me up. I don’t think we as people are meant to be so defined and put in a box. Our desire isn’t to be defined, it’s to be KNOWN.  I’m not either or, I’m yes and. Ryan is helping heal that leftover wound from Daniel, just by letting me be yes and. It’s awesome.

Anyway. We went to Bend. and it felt like summer, which made me SO VERY HAPPY.
Bend, OR // stephanieorefice.net

First we went to Smith Rock, which is maybe one of the prettiest places I’ve been in my whole life. By the time we finished, it was dark enough to see the stars.

 

I’m a big fan of this guy.

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I’d also like to declare that Ryan and I played Chinese Checkers and I won 3/5 times. I’ll be getting a trophy made soon.

The next morning, we got coffee at Backporch Coffee Roasters (can I just say that thanks to Ryan, I’m PLOWING through the different coffee shops part of my 101 list). We drove around trying to find Tumalo Falls. After finding it… it was closed. But it was such a pretty day for a drive.

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today. ☀️💛

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Everywhere we went was closed, I’m not even kidding! Someone fell asleep while we were attempting to find something open (he is the cutest).

 

We finally made it to the lava fields… which were closed, but only to vehicles. So we hiked up to the top. Which was absolutely beautiful and worth it.

No joke, I live in the most beautiful area of the United States. and I’m so glad I have such wonderful company to explore it with. SOON IT WILL BE SUMMER and adventuring can happen all the time. ASK ME HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST!

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Adventure.

i want to have adventures with you

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Look to the right sidebar of my blog, where there is a little tiny blurb about me and things I love.

and please note that I love: long drives, laughing and coffee.

Remember how I was brave recently and the world didn’t end? It was a great decision. It’s resulted in coffee, long drives. and LOTS of laughing. and adventure.

it’s awesome. Not just the adventures themselves but the whole adventure of it.

Maybe at some point I’ll want to add more words, but for now a few pictures are okay. I’m so excited to keep collecting adventures with him.

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