Saturday, September 03, 2016

Our second day in Denver, Colorado...

Okay so where was I? This is everything that happened our 2nd day in Denver. Also, important to note is, while I had a list of things I had been wanting to buy (groceries, etc) the kids also had a couple small things they wanted to get as well. Because they have seen these on YouTube and wanted to try. The whole flight to the USA, the kids kept saying, I sure hope I find a Crystal Pepsi. I meanwhile remember how horrible it was back in the old days. Hahaha. But well...they wanted to try it and I said if we find it, we will definitely buy you each a few. And sure enough we didn't find them at Target, but we found them at Walmart. So, they each got a couple during our trip. 

The boys were so happy. They were like...OMG Crystal Pepsi. I was meanwhile..."ugh...I remember you Crystal Pepsi." Hahaha. : ) Branden taking a pic of Noah and updating his LINE with a pic of Noah next to the much anticipated Crystal Pepsi. They both LOVED their Crystal Pepsi's. And they did give me a taste and yep...I still don't care for it. Neither did Noboru. He said tastes like half Pepsi half Mitsuya Cider. I say...tastes like Sprite. IDK...I just don't see the appeal. But then again...I'm not a kid or a teen. : ) They loved it though. So happy they got to try! Next thing *they* were looking for? Taki's. @_@ 

Meanwhile the boys are at the age where they both really loved shopping at Walmart and Target this trip, right on for that. Especially since they were on the lookout for some things they wanted. And I was meanwhile buying the mundane..but basic necessities we would be taking back to Japan. Thank you Walmart for having the best best prices on the essentials that we needed. Only 1 dollar! $1! Such fantastic prices. And while I didn't buy 100's, I did buy 10. Keep in mind we use 2 boxes to feed a family of 4. So we will only have enough for 5 meals. And that's okay. 5 meals is more than we would have had...if we didn't go. So not bad. The #1 concern we always have is weight of luggage. How much weight can we carry back to Japan with us. Especially since each suitcase can not exceed 50 pounds. So...while the price is so super cheap, I wish I could have brought back 30 of these. The weight...was definitely the most cause of concern. So 10 was enough. : )

Again...you all know how much we use this. And again for a family of 4 we use 3 of these... when we make that chicken noodle meal with broccoli. So we just bought 6 of these. So we can have this just twice. Again...price was not the main concern (hello...they're so cheap!!!)...the weight of our suitcases were. 

Middle of our shopping at Walmart....cart pic! Yes that is certainly 2 big bottles of The Olive Garden Italian salad dressing. And yes I did see the same sized bottles at Costco later but the price was about the same. I am just really happy to have brought back 2 bottles of that Olive Garden salad dressing. Our salad will be rocking for Thanksgiving for sures! A giant Miracle Whip. What else is in this picture. Pantene, because American Pantene smells so good. Godiva chocolates for omiyage (souvenirs for the family who watched our house) Gain scented Febreeze 2 pack of house spray. Walmart brand of Chocolate fudge Pop Tarts and S'mores Pop Tarts (the chocolate fudge ones smell like chocolate cake and take so good) Taki's found for the boys (they hated these so much by the way and they laughed so hard about it) My Denver Broncos drawstring backpack thing it was only $5 and I love the Denver Broncos, ya'll know that. : ) Etc etc.  Also important to note. We always have 1 big shopping day. A day where we can wipe out 99% of everything that way the rest of our days are just...spent sight seeing. relaxing. Enjoying time with my extended family. And sure we can still zip to a store on another day...we're not total nazi's about it. Or sticklers about it. But...if we get 99% of everything out of the way. We all sort of just relax after that. So this was that day. We also went to my auntie's house and visited for a good hour after this first store. Nice to see my family, cousins and their families too. Her fruit trees still look awesome. : ) We were asked to have lunch with them. But we sort of had a plan already set, so I declined. : ) 

The kids wanted to check out Noodles & Company. Noodles & Company is a chain all around America however it is originated from Boulder, Colorado. So it is a Colorado owned company. And I like that...and since the kids wanted to try, we said why not. : ) So we had this planned since we left Japan. : ) 

The kids each had the mac and cheese. 

Noboru picked the Asian noodles. We also loved the soda machines, where you could add fruit syrups to any regular soda you choose. We each had a cherry coke. 

I had the beef stroganoff minus the steak. I'm not a vegetarian at all... but I sometimes want to eat meat and sometimes I just don't want to. That day for lunch...I just wasn't wanting any meat, no big deal. 

After lunch we went to Costco, my nearest Costco when I lived in Denver has always been the one in Arvada, Colorado. My house growing up... has always been like a 5 minute drive from this Costco. So...even now...this is just always the one I go to. : ) It's right on Wadsworth.

Going to a Costco on a Sunday. Are we nuts? Yes, I think we were! Costco no matter what country you are in...don't go on a weekend. Holy crap...here we go! Hope we survive the crowds. : ) 

Yep, Arvada, Colorado. I know you...like the back of my hand! : ) Shopping at Costco was packed to the gills. However...it must be because *I* am also American. But...it was so much easier shopping there. Again, I'm not saying all Americans are angels. But...we do have a tendency to keep our carts on the right hand side of the aisle when going forward. And this just sort of makes maneuvering super easy and a no brainer. Keep to the right and if you need to pass...you can pass efficiently and easily. In Japan however there is no unwritten rule...it's anarchy...carts go right-ways and leftways and diagonal ways and front-ways and back-ways. And people stop right *in* the middle of the freaking aisle blocking **everyone**. Why Japanese people...why???!!! And yes...it gives me a headache and makes me crazy mad at times here. But in America...on a Sunday nonetheless...was fantastic. Everyone kept to the right and I was thinking wow. Getting around here is amazing. And a blonde mother whose kids were blocking some folks (not me) she told her kids..."kids watch where you're going, folks are trying to get around you!") I heard that and thought...oh you wonderful...wonderful mom you! Bless that woman. Again...was trying to get around Costco in Arvada a headache? Honestly...no...it was super easy and efficient. It is so nice to be in a country or store where we all sort of think the same and do the same regarding the carts. Like we all keep to the right with our carts. Thank the lord! Hahaha. : ) 
I have been using this moisturizer for how long, you guys? 2 years I think, no I think longer. Has it been 2 or 3 years? Hmm. Could even be 3, I think 3. First time buying at Costco in the US. Best deal ever! For 20-25 years I had been using Kiehl's UFM. I love it. It's a good basic moisturizer it has no anti aging ingredients but it is a fantastic moisturizer, has never broke me out (no zits). The thing I don't care about it is the price, it is a tad pricey. Granted not...La Mer type expensive. And we can get Kiehl's here in Japan. Anyways, my mom always used Olay when I was growing up. My grandma always used Olay. And I did buy it off and on, not this one but a basic one. Anyways...when I was about 35 years old...I started thinking deeply about...anti aging. Should I start some anti aging regimen? I think I should. So, I started watching videos and it seemed that what every American woman was using was this. Because of the niacinamide (the best thing for anti aging) Emily Noel, Hot and Flashy. A lot of ladies...ladies I trust recommended this. And so, I tried this what....3 years ago? It never broke my out. Neither did the Kiehl's. And while I do tend to not believe the hype...of "look younger in 4 weeks" type stuff. I was wrong! From the day I started using this. My skin looked clearer, no spots or discoloration...my skin just looked younger. My skin looked amazing after using this specific Olay moisturizer with the black pump. Also...I love the look of this bottle. It is a plastic bottle so super easy to travel with. But, I love the look of this, it looks really cool and stylish this bottle. I love the black pump and it just takes 1 pump to moisturize my entire face. So 1 pump is enough. And again...I love how this daily moisturizer makes my face look. So yeah for the past 3 years, I have been a fan of this one and I will continue to purchase this one. Also important to note the size you can get at Target and Walmart is 50% smaller than this one. This one is twice bigger than what you can find at regular stores. 
Also because I am cheap. I price compare. And for 50ml at Target or Walmart the going rate for a 50ml of this is US $22-23. Now at Costco a 3.4OZ or 100ml one is only $28.99! So the better deal to be had for this is at Costco America no doubt about it! And I prefer fragrance free and this one is fragrance free. This one also has SPF, which is nice. Even though I usually use my own SPF anyways. But nice to have it. Noboru bought me 2 of these huge bottles of the Olay for my daily moisturizer. if we had bought these at Target we'd have to have bought 4 of the small sizes and it would have been twice the cost...so a much much better deal here buying at Costco America and this is not available at Costco Japan. : ( Used to be... but not for years. : (  

This is a very good basic moisturizer but aside from the sunscreen it has no active anti aging ingredients like the other one, we bought. 

However it is cheaper. But...I prefer the other Olay...I love how the other one... makes my skin look. : )

Also...I use this as my night cream and have been using this for the past 3 years too. One of these at Target was $24 US. But at Costco you can get 2 for $30.99! That is super cheap. This isn't fragrance free. I wish it was. But honestly for that price...I don't mind the one with fragrance at all. Best deal ever! We walked out of Costco with only 3 things. 2 big bottles of that Olay daily moisturizer and 1 of these 2 packs of night cream. I also use a night serum but they didn't have the one I use at all. Maybe I should have bought the kind they did have, hmmm. But...Noboru bought me 1 serum I do use at...Target. It's such a peace of mind knowing....I have enough daily moisturizer and night cream to last me.. until next Summer. It's a real load off my mind. : ) Phew. : )

After that we went to the old Forney Museum which is now an R.E.I. building...we went because we were looking for a backpack for Bran, but they didn't have it. However we walked to the river bank and took a look.

Folks playing in the river...staying cool on a weekend. I thought that was lovely!

I watched that red head and her black lab. Her dog was so smart! We just watched for a couple minutes but we were smiling. 

Looking on...enjoying our day.

My happy family! Love you guys! Did Branden get tall or what? He's barely 14 and still growing. 

We bought 1 suitcase at Walmart. And we have since bought 1 suitcase at Costco Japan (yesterday) why? Because all our suitcases are like 15 years old...have gone to Hawaii so many times, Guam a zillion times, Denver back and forth many times and many of our suitcases are dying or dead...on their last leg, so to speak. However suitcases are also expensive too. So...we bought a hard shell (not a cloth one) suitcase from Walmart...a huge black suitcase for $68 US. And we bought a huge black hard shell Samsonite one yesterday for 9600 yen ($95 US) and that was a fantastic deal. And it is also a hard shell suitcase. It's called a polycarbonate...material. They're both made from that...our 2 new ones. So now we will be throwing away 2 old suitcases since we have since replaced with 2 new ones.   Slowly but surely we will replace the old ones. And yes we did check Costco in Arvada but they had 1 brand X suitcase that we checked online while there and it had horrible reviews and they had a Samsonite set but the print was snake skin and it was super ugly and scary. OMG, you guys would have been scared if you saw that snake print too. Just really off putting that print. It even deterred Noboru from buying. Thank goodness Costco Japan just had basic black ones or wine red ones, but we went with basic black. 

And back at a different Target. We went to like 3 Walmarts and 3 Targets that day. Micellar waters, I bought the Garnier one at another store and this Simple one here. This particular Target had the huge bottle of Simple micellar and the bottle is clear and smooth. Where as most shops sell a smaller Simple micellar water and have a textured bottle. Also of the 3 Targets this Target had all the pumpkin spice stuff. The other Targets didn't. Go figure.

Pumpkin Spice, Cheerios, Life, Pop Tarts and Quaker instant oatmeal. And micellar water. Clearly an American girl is pushing this cart. We love pumpkin spice anything and everything, it's true. There is 1 mom, I am friends with she lives in Texas (she has no Japan connection at all) and she blogs and has an Instagram. She always shares pics of seasonal stuff. And I always tell her..."because of you...you keep me current and whenever I go "home"...I know what to look for!" And she always laughs! But it's true. I knew to be on the lookout for this stuff, thanks to her! We managed to knock 98% of everything off our list that day. We did still need to track down BrannyB's backpack. And some bras for me. But other then that. We were done.

We had a simple supper that Sunday night. We wanted Popeye's fried chicken and their delicious biscuits. Mashed potatoes. And that amazing soda machine again where you can add your own syrups. Branden picked a lime coke. Noah made a raspberry coke. Noboru and I each had a cherry coke. Dinner was so good. So basic, but absolutely perfect for us. 

I am not perfect. I remembered to bring my flat iron, my hairbrush but I forgot my comb. No worries we bought a 2 pack at Walmart. That way I could part my hair after my shower every night. 

The kids forgot their hair gel. So, we bought them this. They have used this brand before and it's the best. : ) Smells like green apples too. 

I snapped this pic at a Walgreens. And if you can see this it says the carts will lock if you take them out of the parking lot. Very understandable because homeless people have wheeled carts away for years since I was a toddler. However...the hilarious story I want to share with you now before I end this post is that carts in the US are so freaking high tech now days! I embarrassed the living daylights out of myself that Sunday! Oh yes, I did. Traumatized for life! It's official. Okay so here is the story. I was at King Soopers, we were looking for only 1 thing. Cinnamon coffee creamer. That's all. No huge long list. Just simply some coffee creamer. So we nicely grabbed a cart. The carts are all nicely in rows outside the stores sliding doors. We walked to the coffee aisle. We looked. No it was not there. So we were going to check another King Soopers. We know where another one is not a problem. I do have proper manners and so I wasn't just going to abandon my cart in the coffee aisle. The right thing to do is wheel your cart to where you found it! So, place the cart right outside the entrance was what I was about to do. Right as I was about to exit the store with my empty cart. The loudest burglar alarm sounds went off. Imagine a blaring siren now multiply that times 10. Oh yes and the worst part is my cart wheels immediately locked. So it was obviously me. I am the bad guy! I am the culprit! Keep in mind this did NOT happen 3 years ago and I was at King Soopers 3 years ago! My face went immediately beet red! Instant sheer embarrassment will do that to you. Everyone in the entire lanes of checkout were staring at us. I had no idea what was happening. Hello! I live in Japan, we don't have these types of carts there! I'm so totally out of the know! What did I do! So totally out of the loop. I am about to die of shock and embarrassment any second. Are the cops being called? Should I get down on the ground? Should I spread em'? I am dying here! Beet red! What did I do? I know I did something. But I don't know what I did. OMG, you guys. This whole thing happened in like 30 seconds. Lucky for me...a slim blonde woman holding her cell phone wearing a suit was entering the store as I was stopped with my cart and could not move thanks to the computerized cart, the wheels were locked. The blonde woman saw me. And immediately saw my embarrassment and she had my back 100%!!! In fact she became a grizzly bear out to protect me. Why? I do not know. Maybe she saw the good in me. Saw my beet red face. Maybe she was just paying it forward who knows. She got off her cell. And she said. "OMG you poor thing you don't have a single thing in your cart" These carts are so dumb!!!" She looked at one of the cashiers and snapped her fingers and said. "Excuse me...please come here and help" she snapped her fingers again" The cashier came running when she realized how dead serious this woman was. Woman with cell phone told the cashier..."you know...you really have to do something about these carts...she obviously has nothing in her cart, it's empty!" She further added. "These carts are so stupid by the way!!!" "God these carts piss me off!!!!" The cashier just unlocks my cart as fast as she can. I thanked the cell phone lady. And she said "not a problem...they need to get rid of these stupid carts!!!" She smiled at me and waved. And then she got back on her cell phone and walked away! Wow. We 4 were stunned. What just happened? I can't even wrap my head around all that. #1...I learned a valuable thing. If I am ever in the US mainland...I will from now on...never ever ever try to put my cart back, where I got it. Lesson learned, if abandoning my cart is what I must do, I must. Granted it wasn't the way I was raised. But, I'll be damned... if I ever let that alarm embarrass me like that again. I will look to see if there is a place to place it inside the store first though... manner-wise... if not then... down a random aisle it goes. Also learned...I love women who protect and back up their fellow women! She was *so* nice. And boy it felt good to have someone just jump right in there like that...and immediately and just 100% no questions asked...have my back. She really jumped in there to help me out. And if I am ever in a situation like that... where I can help someone or pay it forward, I hope to help someone too. Kindness and goodness always wins! But boy oh boy was I mortified. In fact...at dinner when we were having Popeye's...we 4 were laughing so hard about that. "How about mom today...when the alarm went off." or they said..."did you see mom's face?" (my face)...I can laugh at myself. So yeah...we 4 were cracking up about it afterwards.

Also one more thing about the carts. When we were at Walmart doing a self check out. I clunked my purse/bag into the cart while we shopped because it weighs about 3 pounds and is heavy on my shoulder. So, anyways as we were at the self check out. My purse was still in the super smart computer Terminator type cart. I pressed...done. Ready to pay and leave. The cash register itself gave me a message. "not done still 3 pounds of unscanned things in your cart!!!" WTF? It was weighing/counting my purse as items. I took my purse and held it on my shoulder and then it let us pay and move along. So...just beware of all the carts in Colorado. Walmart...Walgreens and especially King Soopers, has these high tech carts. Terminator type carts that weigh and know stuff. Freaky freaky carts. So just a FYI. And also thought...my complete humiliation at King Soopers might give you a laugh and a smile today. : ) I tell ya...I'm most certainly not perfect. In fact many days and in many ways...I am very Bridget Jone's. In fact, sometimes I have some super embarrassing things happen to me. One time...about a year or two ago...I flew to Guam and on the flight back to Japan, the toilet door was locked and would not open and I was stuck inside the lavatory and could not get out. I had to call the flight attendant and the only way he could get me out...was by taking the entire toilet door off. The entire first class knew about that. That was downright embarrassing and yes I was absolutely beet red about that. I went and slunk back to my seat after the flight attendant took the entire door off it's hinges and rescued me. LOL. : ) Anyways, that's everything that happened the 2nd day we were in Denver, Colorado. : )