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Weekend Wanderer

Wandering the Weekends in California and beyond

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Southern California

Lake Arrowhead – Last Minute Adventure

IMG_6564Sometimes the best weekend getaways are the ones that don’t take much planning. I’m lucky enough to have a family cabin up in Twin Peaks near Lake Arrowhead and a great tribe to travel with. This used to be one of the only “vacation” spots my family would regularly go to, with 5 kids it’s hard to go anywhere. It always surprises me how easy it is to head up the mountain, and every time I go up I’m stoked on the weather and surroundings. IMG_6598

What makes the weekend trips epic, are the people you travel with. Luckily we had a good vibe tribe heading up the mountain with us. The loop our cabin is on isn’t filled with AIRBNBS or VRBO’s, it really is a quiet family community. We barely get cell phone service, cable has a few channels and we’re forced to actually interact with each other and spend the night trying to figure out how to play pictionary properly. The mornings were the best time, I’d wake up first and let Biggie out for his morning roam. That was my favorite time of the day, when it was literally no other sound except for the pug snorting around the nearest tree. We’d make waffles and bacon, and within 37 seconds the entire cabin was awake by the smell of breakfast. Which really isn’t that hard, because you can stand in the living room and see into the other two rooms and bathrooms without rotating. Hey, everyone likes to be cozy.

But as usual, where ever we go, we find something to paddle and somewhere to paddle on. Lake Gregory  has a greaIMG_6567t spot to set up a chair and drop a cooler for a few hours while enjoying the fresh air and the lake itself. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the area, as most people spend their time on Lake Arrowhead or up in Big Bear. You can bring your own equipment, however they have a fee to launch. During the summer the water is super refreshing, which is convenient when your sisters try to flip your boy scout canoe!

Friday night the electricity went out, a power outage that affect the entire loop. It was about midnight and we were still awake playing board games, just like you normally would in any cabin setting – am I right? Once we got over the IMG_6487“OMG this is a horror movie waiting to happen” mode, we grabbed all the candles we could to lighten up the small cabin. But the best lighting we got was outside under the stars. Everyone laying down on the porch just staring up at the stars and watching them appear from behind the trees was one of the most relaxing moments I’ve had in months.

Lake Arrowhead has a killer summer set up for concerts at the lake ( http://www.lakearrowhead.com/village.html ) and also fun things to do all day. I mean, we just walked around, stopped for tacos and fed the ducks; but we totally could have spent the entire day there like we used to. We just wanted to head down the mountain (which took all of 20 minutes) before the sun went down.

Fresh hikes, fun days and a margarita to join the sunset. I need to spend more time up the mountain. IMG_6522IMG_6658

25

10616484_10203692522207394_8978194062482821102_nI didn’t post at all in 2014. Maybe because I didn’t have time, or maybe I just didn’t have anything to share. Well, I always have something to share so I think I just didn’t find the time!

In just a few hours I’ll be turning 25, which is kinda surreal. Cause age really is just a number, but I don’t feel 25. Then again what’s 25 supposed to feel like? I’m five years from 30 (uh, crap) but I’m also at the same time five years for 20 ( I liked 20 ). But 25…blah.

I’ve decided to look back at the past 25 years, and remember what I’ve done.  I like to think that I set good goals for myself, and worked hard to meet them. I am a huge believer in setting goals and having something to look forward to or work towards. But i also like to think that I had some fun along the way!

25 things that I’m stoked on for the 25 years I’ve been on this earth. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to look back and be like “woah, I did all that before I turned 25?” And in no particular order…

1. I had my first job when I was 15. It may have been keeping basketball game scores at the local gym for youth leagues; but it was a job and I could make enough money on Sundays to pay for my lunch all week. 

2. My phone bill. I pay it myself. And have been since I was 20. C’mon. It’s a big deal.

3. When I was 19 I successfully packed my car and moved myself up to San Luis Obispo, and then ten months later I packed up again and moved myself to Santa Ana. 

4. My Junior Outrigger Team over the years has given me some of my best memories, trips and races.

5.  Surviving Molokai 2012, and then also placing in Koa division in Molokai 2014. 

6. My ability to problem solve. I’ve become very good at solving other peoples problems, I’ll work on my own when I get there.

7. Placing 3rd in Kona with my girls in 2012

8. I learned to drive a trailer because I found myself in a situation where a trailer needed to be driven and no one was around to do it. I also learned how to drive my own motor boat, because Sam told me that’d be the only way I’d get home after the Catalina race. 

9. The moment I got my first own canoe. God I love my boat #KamanuComposites

10. I was in the William and Kate movie back in 2011. It’s a hallmark film. Haven’t seen it? Its on Netflix. 

12. When I was in 7th grade, I read the most books out of my whole grade. I was really amped on that. 

13.  I’m proud that even though I hate flying, I still somehow get myself on a plane when it’s time for another adventure…or race. I’m not trying to sound cool. I really, really, hate flying. 

14. I’m proud of the work I do at NAC. It’s kinda a lot of hats to wear at once, but I’m happy with it. And couldn’t really imagine my life any other way right now. 

15. I won the Catalina Relay in 2010 with the best teammates ever. I also think that was the last time i did that race before the canceled it two years later. Guess I ended on a good note!

16. NAC went to world sprints in 2008; however it was just in Sacramento. 

17. I successfully beat the system and got rid of two speeding tickets on the same day when I was living in SLO.

18. The very first CD I ever bought was Offspring Americana when I was in 6th grade. 

19. In 2011, I jumped into a suburban last minute and didn’t look back for ten days. Traveled all the way to Tennessee for Bonnaroo Music Festival with 3 smelly boys and a lot of canned tuna. 

20. Senior year all we did was hand break turns at Bob Henry Park and donuts in the NAC parking lot. Not in my car of course. The blue bomber would not have survived.

21. Biggie, I think he’s grown up quite well mannered.

22. Maui to Molokai – Pailolo

23. I’ve made new friends on almost every Hawaiian island, and every time I travel I meet a new buddy. 

24. I can jump my own battery and check my own oil. Anything after that, I make a phone call to the right person.

25. I haven’t broken rule #1 ; #sjciii

It’s not everything; it’s also not my most exciting memories. If you were to sit me down and make me write out what I did in 25 years, that’s kinda what i come up with. But when I start thinking how weird it is to be 25, i also start thinking…imagine what I’ll do in the next 25 years.

Pilialoha Designs

It has been OVER A MONTH since my last post. I’ve been super busy working, getting through the holidays and starting a new small business with my best friend.

It all started with a high school dance outfit, some painter’s tape and a can of spray paint. We were on a budget so we made our own shirts for all the themed high school dances. It then evolved into painting trucker hats and then eventually into designing shirts and paddling jerseys on the computer. We thought we would take this self-taught skill and make it into something bigger!

Pilialoha means friendship in Hawaiian. Malia and I  have been friends since junior high but outrigger canoe paddling sealed the deal. Our love for the sport as well as the ocean is expressed in the designs that we create.

We have three main lines: Dream, Create, Live. Those words also help us stay grounded for our day to day activities. I personally, and I know Malia as well, am always dreaming of the next big thing (in comes Pilialoha Designs). We create it! We live it!

It has been super fun playing around with different designs and being able to put them on hats and shirts. We love making the bath salts, adding colors and different scents depending on what people like. We’ve done our research! As we’ve learned that different essential oils mixed together have different benefits.

I think more than actually designing the shirts and making the products, we like seeing everyone else enjoy them. I love seeing people I know paddling in our hats. I love people having the light switches we design up in their house. The idea of being able to make things that people like is something I love. We have so many ideas, and want to do everything at once! But we know we gotta slow down, get our names out there and set up a base. 945838_325249557615948_1129692313_n 1455974_311672545640316_583703438_n 1459923_322845191189718_867414319_n 1488017_320510571423180_72616984_n 1530381_324930420981195_1942067211_n

Our website is http://www.pilialohadesigns.com and there is a direct link to our etsy store there as well! I can’t want to see how this takes off and what comes next! We’ll keep everyone posted!

Our instagram is: @Pilialohadesigns

Our Facebook is: http://www.facebook.com/pilialohadesigns

Wanderlust Wednesday // Whirlwind Weekends

So taking a cue from one of my besties over at MadDreamDesign , this will be my “Wanderlust Wednesday” post! Check out Maddie’s blog at Mad Dream Design as she is posting EVERY Wednesday about her awesome adventures and trips! As for me – I’ve been up and down Southern California these last few weeks for weddings and other fun festivities!

Went down to San Diego to watch my sister Torey from Chico State play!

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A couple Saturdays ago I had two weddings in one day, one in Dana Point the other in Newport Beach. Both couples are both very close to me and I was so happy that I was able to make both events! I loved how personal and yet simple both weddings were. They both in their own ways matched the couple perfectly, from the beautiful, romantic beach ceremony to the rowdy after party with all their friends!

Danny and Leah

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Danny and Leahs beach ceremony at Doheny Beach
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Mr. and Mrs. Ching!
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Me and my bestie Bobbie, who now lives on Maui.

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Ozzie and Beth

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Mr. and Mrs. Clarke !

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The following weekend was ALSO a wedding. This time in San Luis Obispo! So we packed up for a weekend of fun with old friends and watched an old high school friend tie the not with his college sweetheart!

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The girlies. Bobbie, Kelly, Malia
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The boys! Bruce and Will
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Oh he was NOT having the lipstick kiss!
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Avila Valley Barn

Unfortunately, I didn’t get many good pictures of the bride and groom. The only goods I got was them unwrapping their newly plastic wrapper rental car, and turning it on and getting baby powder flushed into their face through the AC! Gotta love older brothers right??

Whirlwind weekends and they don’t think to stop!

The Number 5

The number 5 is a very powerful number once you think about it. Five is the third prime number. Five is the atomic number of boron.  In music, Five is the lowest possible number that can be the top number of  a time signature with an asymmetric meter (Clay I hope you read this). In hockey, the area between the goaltender’s legs is known as the five-hole. 5 also is the most common number of gears for automobiles with manual transmission. Is that enough facts about the number 5? How about in numerology, 5 is the number of progress and growth, for without change there is stagnation. 

Five years ago I was 18. I lived at home, was about to graduate high school and knew I hadn’t applied to college. I knew I was going to go to the community college near by. I knew that at 18, I had my whole life ahead of me and that I wanted to make the most of it.

But have I?

In the past five years, I’ve lived in three different homes. I’ve lived in San Luis Obispo. I’ve been supporting my self for 4 out of the 5 years. I’ve dated guys, and I think I’ve found one that sticks now.  I have had one turtle, one cat, a few fish and a pug (obviously). I’ve driven a black suburban, a bright blue camry and now a grey frontier.  I’ve gone from drinking cheap drinks from trader joes to nice glasses of wine with my bestie. I’ve gone from have a spastic lifestyle to actually planning on what I do next (except for that last minute trip to Dads Center while we were supposed to be moving- sorry Bruce!) But nobody’s perfect and as long as you believe you are doing the best you can then that’s all that matters!

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been on a plan in the past 260 weeks.

I’ve done 8 races in Hawaii in the past 1,825 days.

Five years ago, I didn’t know what I was going to be doing at 23. When I was 18, I wrote “Happy” when the basketball program asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m happy. I’m very happy. I have a great life that I’ve built for myself. I’ve set my goals and reached them. I set new goals and I work towards them. I help the people around me. I also let the people around me help myself when I need it. I’ve worked hard for what I’ve got and what I’ve done.

Now for the next 5 years…

I’ll be 28.

I hope to continue to have a job that I like working at.

I hope to still have my truck! I love my truck!

I plan on going back to school and finishing my AA.

I plan on having a house in five years.

I plan on doing a lot more racing in the next five years!

I want to keep setting goals and working towards them. I’m going back to school and I’m hoping that helps me somewhere along the next five years. I HOPE Biggie will grow into his tongue in the next five years!

Making a five year plan is no joke. I’m pretty sure you CAN’T tell what the future will hold. But you can design your life to come the way you want it. As long as you stay true to your own values and goals, you’re five year plan should come pretty easily! Also, five years FLYS BY! So hold on.

Dads Center~ Queen Liliuokalani~ Catalina ~ Breathe!

The last month has gone by SO fast. I’m just now being able to sit down and reflect on how lucky I am to be able to travel as easily as I do (thankful for sisters that live in cool places) and race as much as I do! The last three races I just did were some of the most fun paddling I’ve ever had! I’ve finally had the time to BREATHE and recap on the past three events in my life!

 

Dads Center

I have NEVER done this race before! When my good friend Maddie asked if I had any interest in steering that race- OFCOURSE I jumped on it! Hello! A weekend in Hawaii with good friends, my sisters AND I get to paddle? I’m in.

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This race is on Oahu from Kailua Beach to Waikiki. Roughly a 26 mile change race. I had heard that there is all sorts of different water you encounter in this race. Flat water, rough water, big water and STUPID water. We had all and more. It was the biggest washing machine I had ever been in. I kept looking over at Jimi (our escort coach) and ending up telling Maddie “I just need Jimi to tell me it gets easier!”

By hour two of steering, Jimi can get close enough and say “It’s going to get easier Kel, but first it’s going to get a lot shittier.”1150505_10201889121413666_1145914327_o

I learned a lot in that race, not just about steering an and paddling. I learned that I can put myself in a tough and new situation and by staying calm and trusting the girls I have with me, we’ll come out on top!

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Thanks to Imua Outrigger for letting me come along for the wild ride!

Queen Liliuokalani 

This was my 8th appearance in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii for the Queen Liliuokalani, and my 7th time accomplishing the 18 mile long iron long course. I’m serious when I say it gets easier every time! I got to spend this race with some my best friends!

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We had an open crew and a masters crew! We had another open crew which was filled with just juniors. It was awesome to coach these girls all summer and see them work hard. They set their goals and stuck too it. I’ve never been prouder of a crew I coached. And to see them all working together and having fun to make it happen- that’s the most rewarding thing as a coach in my opinion. When a crew comes together after months of hard work, I feel like there’s nothing better then pushing them off the beach.

My crew lucked out and got another unlimited boat! All wood, very beautiful boat! The unlimited category means that the boat can be of any design and way under the 400 lb weight restriction. The unlimited division starts 5 minutes behind the 400lb boats and crews. We ended up 32nd out of 133 crews and had a blast!

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Catalina 2013

Catalina! The race that means the most to us California people! A race from Newport Beach to Avalon, Catalina! Just about 27 miles! This is TOTALLY my favorite race of the season- and not just for the after party 😉1268510_10201612021996905_1446212873_o

Us girls all come together as one and get ourselves to Catalina! It’s what we work for all season! I love this race just because we know it’s the final race and we are going to give everything we got and leave it on the water!

This year was really challenging. We had a strong headwind and the swells were coming from the side. We couldn’t catch much, but we did what we could with what we had! And we had fun! We did better than the year before, and that’s all you can hope to do! We even made a new friend- Dana! A super awesome girl from Kauai who came in a helped us fill a spot!

We made it in 5 hours and 5 minutes. 1264107_10201612022596920_2004676474_o

We got 7th and at the end all I wanted was a root beer.

The next day, after a good nights sleep of course, I was able to help run the mens crews back. Usually I’m an escort for the second mens crew- but since Sam has that “no girlfriends allowed on escorts” blah blah blah rule, I couldn’t escort the second crew. Which means Sam was stuck with me helping him with the first crew!

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Now that all the racing has slowed down, I can finally breathe! Relax! Catch up on things I never get done during the summer! But I always find myself wishing that distance season wasn’t over. We always have the most fun!

xoxo

State Sprint Shenanigans

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2008 State Sprints First PlaceKelly (stroke seat), Malia (2), Celeste (3), Pam (4), Taylor (5) and Bobbie (steering)

State Sprints in Santa Barbara is a race that I look forward to every summer! Not just because its a beautiful venue for paddling…but because of the fun that comes a long with is. There’s a tradition of dressing up your novice paddlers at state sprints and making them race in them! Well…NAC wanted to play too. And NAC doesn’t have a novice team…weird. Here are a few pictures from over the years of how Newport Aquatic Center jazzed it up for State Sprints every year!

2008 ~ Team Day Glo

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Team Day Glo 2008

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2009 ~ Billys Angels

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5935_1190505917339_1574401_n2010 ~ Village People

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2010 Village People

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2011 ~ Team Tecate

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281919_2174831524864_5223531_n2012 ~ El Mexicano

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2013? What’s it going to be? NAC may be laying low this year…OR dropping it like its hot.

Instagram: @KelThompson
Twitter: @KelThomp

The next 48 hours…

It’s a Friday night. 

AND IT’S ALMOST OVER.

What are you going to do tomorrow? Or the next day?

You need to get the most out of your weekend.

Odds are you already spend the week day working

or training

then coming home and sleeping. 

I’ve got ten easy suggestions to help you get the most out of your weekend, and not spending it on an alcohol binge or checking into pillow paradise and not checking out until Monday morning!

1. Everyone likes to sleep in! However, instead of sleeping in till 11am on both Saturday and Sunday; just pick one. Pick whichever day you want to sleep in as LONG as you want. What ever day you don’t pick, try to wake up at a normal breakfast time! Start your day with a nice cup of coffee and get this show on the road!

2. Do something early. On the day your NOT too busy sleeping, take the dog for a walk on the beach! Or ride your bike to a morning cuppa! Read a book on your lanai or make breakfast for the fambam!

3. Go out for a night! Pick a night to get the band back together and go out to dinner, or drinks…or both! Hit up the movie theater or local dive bar! 

4. The night you aren’t going out however, cook a home cooked meal. It’s Sunday, if you aren’t working you have plenty of time to go to the grocery store and pick out special items for a new recipe! Share it with friends! Or cook a romantic meal for a special someone.

5. DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF! If you’re like me you spend a great deal of time thinking about your roommates, friends or boyfriends and making sure they’re happy at all times. But right now-its “ME TIME”. If you’re also anything like you, you can’t afford to go get a nice pedicure-so pick a crazy color and do it yourself!

6. Try something new! Want to learn to knit? Youtube that ish. Want to learn to canoe or kayak? Check out the Newport Aquatic Center,  www.newportaquaticcenter.com, down in Newport Beach, CA! Or go take a yoga class at your local yoga studio!

7. Clean out your closet! Any girl will admit that they could always use a few hours to clean out their closet! Any boyfriend will agree.

8. Get out into Nature. If you can’t be near the ocean to take a swim or stand up paddle; go out into the world and find a hike! Make an adventure out of it! And of course take many, many, pictures!

9. Plan a date night at home. Even if you aren’t “dating” anyone right now- PICK YOUR BEST FRIEND! Watch movies, drink wine and just relax- you have nowhere to be!

10. Go to the park. When’s the last time you went TO A PARK! For real. Take a towel. Take a book. Take a camera! Spend a half hour outdoors at a park, just listening. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.

Now I understand that not everyone has time to do all TEN of these suggestions. Just pick two or three of your favorites and go from there! Don’t spend your weekend eating hot cheetos and watching Teen Mom re-runs! 

You can follow me on my weekend adventures on Instagram at:

@KelThompson

or on Twitter at:

@KelThomp

xoxo

Santa Barbara Rig Run 2013

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Photo by Chris Silvester

The morning start off at 3:15 am when Bruce and I left the house (our roommates were just going to sleep) and headed up to Santa Barbara with Maddie and Jimi. Reef Runner in tow. We arrived in Santa Barbara two and a half hours later. Looking at the VERY still palm trees and feeling the non existent wind, I braced myself for another flat race.

We didn’t have any kids from the NAC race in the short course, we only had one boat racing in the long course. Three boys , three girls…they absolutely killed it! Even beating the NAC women’s crew that was out there that day by a boat length! Daniella, Kylie, Meghan, Cade, Ian and Liam all had a great time and together it was one of their best races. I get so happy when I see the kids I coach succeed. It’s an silent fist pump when I see them on the course!

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It helped that it was probably the BEST downwind we had had all season. I can easily say that this was one of the best races I’ve done in Southern California! The downwind portion was perfectly lined up (thank you Billy Whitford!) and our crew kept it hot! The girls stayed positive the entire time and we RAN. There was about 70 crews in the women’s race that day. The water was perfect, the wind was perfect and the temperature was perfect. I love racing with the girls, and hottin and hollerin at the other crews around us. We are all a big group of sister paddlers all out wanting to do the same thing…BEAT EACHOTHER! The intensity is brought up when passing another crew, the excitement is through the roof when you can feel that swell pushing the back of your canoe and the POWER is so great when everyone is working together; I can’t think of a better feeling right now.

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NAC Mens second boat steered by Bruce Schwartz photo credit Chris Silvester
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NAC Mens first crew photo credit Chris Silvester

Even though the top mens crew of NAC started late (200 yards behind the start line) they still finished third across the line, out of about 65 boats! My boyfriend Bruce steered a strong group of men in the second boat around all the turns. They had a strong second crew and help their own towards front of the pack! The third boat had a paddler not show up so I stepped in and steered back to back races that day. A good 22 miles seemed like a good idea at the time. I get 5 miles into the first race and i’m like “THIS IS GUNNA HURT”. All in all it was a great day in Santa Barbara! You can’t complain with waves like that! A sun beaming down on you and all your friends around!

Marina Del Rey here we come!

instagram: KelThompson
Twitter: @KelThomp

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