daily florals - 05.14.2013

Daily Florals | www.floralsandplaid.com

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K1 Fiancé Visa Process

The K1 (Fiancé) Visa application is probably one of the most difficult and frustrating application processes I have ever had to go through. Between the american and I, we've done a ton of research, read a lot of blogs and forums, and asked a handful of different individuals for advice and yet, no one has a straightforward answer to one particular question that is embedded in my every thought around this situation: how long will it take?

We've read estimates provided on various online resources, we've read the literature provided by USCIS and yet there are inconsistencies and a straight-up inability by all of the organizations to provide an actual timeline.

And I get it, trust me I do. I get that there are probably thousands of applications they go through weekly and probably a lot of those applicants may not have the appropriate intentions or documentation, and shit takes time. But being the "planner" that I am, I want to know how to organize the next months of my life and make the necessary arrangements that come along with picking up your life in one country and moving your entire world to another.

With that said, the american suggested I document our process and it's timeline (so far) so that maybe it can help another couple in a similar situation to us.
Our K1 Visa Application Process | www.floralsandplaid.com Our K1 Visa Application Process | www.floralsandplaid.com
First a bit of background:

The american and I have been dating for almost 6 years now. He is an American citizen who lives in Los Angeles, I am a Canadian citizen and I live in Toronto. We both have good jobs with decent incomes. All-in-all we're a fairly normal couple who just happen to live in different countries.

Our timeline, so far, goes as such:

October 25, 2012 - Sent in I-129F to California Service Center
October 29, 2012 - USCIS received I-129F (email receipt received)
April 23, 2013 - USCIS sent RFE asking for the american to resubmit a form he had already submitted
April 29, 2013 - We received RFE hard copy in the mail
April 30, 2013 - We mailed RFE response to USCIS
May 6, 2013 - USCIS received RFE response (email receipt received)
May 10, 2013 - USCIS sent email approval of I-129F!

So that's where we are as of right now. We're waiting on the actual hardcopy of the I-129f approval to go through our next steps. 

It's supposed to be an exciting time, being engaged and all that, but sometimes I can't help but feel overwhelmed with frustration because of how arduous this process is. It's a black hole of paper work, process, and waiting. A lot of waiting.

Hopefully the next steps aren't as convoluted and time-consuming as I fear they might be. Fingers crossed...

Mahalo, Maui...again.

North Shore Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com
The american and I found our way back to Maui again last month. And much to my surprise the american had a pretty big surprise up his sleeve (but we'll leave that story for another time). But the vacation was definitely needed and this island will forever be cherished. 
Paia Fish Market Maui  | www.floralsandplaid.com Leoda's Banana Cream Pie Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com Kula Lodge Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com White Wine in Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com Mauimosas in Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com
There's a lot we're still learning about the island. A few new special spots were found and some past favourites revisited. You can see last year's adventure here, complete with a Google map of our favourites! But this time around, I'm updating the map with some oldies and a few new favourites! 

Favourites from our previous adventure:

Oh my Pie: Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop
The banana cream pie is a dream. They also sell small personal-sized pies which are perfect for fat kids like me!

Breakfast with a view: The Gazebo 
We waited in line here for about 45 minutes this time (20 minutes last time). This time I opted for the french toast and the american had the Big Kahuna omelette. I must admit, I liked his breakfast MUCH more than mine, and ended up eating quite a bit of it as his portion was rather large. The french toast was also massive, but the batter hadn't quite soaked completely through so the center was dry and a bit bland. Not something I'd order again. 

Asian Persuasion: Star Noodle
We ordered so much food, drank a bunch of sake, and still this was our cheapest dinner on the island. Everything on the menu is delightful, so in my opinion, order a bunch of stuff for the table, and share it! 

The most ridiculous seafood: Mama's Fish House
Get a reservation and go. It's a must on Maui. 

Sunset happy hour: Duke's Beach House
The american was dying to go back here and have the Hula pie at sunset. So we did. It was awesome. 

Sushi me: Sansei (in Kapalua)
I didn't get to enjoy this place at all last time because of the food poisoning, but this time was a different story. Probably some of the best sushi I've ever eaten in my life and they had a whole gluten free menu (the american is celiac). Also, their flourless chocolate cake was to die for! 

Some new favourites:

Hippie breakfast love: Paia Bay Coffee
The american and I decided that we want to do something similar for our retirement. Open a little stand of some sort (whether it's a breakfast joint or a taco joint) on some little island/slice of heaven, and live our life on island time. This coffee shop/breakfast joint is quite magical and I highly recommend it for a no-fuss and delicious casual breakfast. 

More fresh fish: Paia Fish Market
This is my new favourite lunch spot on the island. A very casual fresh fish market restaurant. Order your food at the counter and wait for your number to be called. It's pretty freaking rad and ridiculously affordable (especially if you're going to a casual dinner).

On the volcano: Kula Lodge and Restaurant
The american and I decided to take a trip up the volcano for a sunset/sunrise excursion. We reserved a lodge here (and were upgraded as they were doing some work on the roof of the original one we booked), and drove up the volcano (about an hour and fifteen drive) to watch the sunset, came back down to the lodge for dinner, and then woke up extremely early to drive up the volcano again to watch the sunrise, and then drove back down to the lodge for breakfast. It was an amazing, and really cold, experience. But more on this another time. Also, if you go here for breakfast, have the french toast. Literally the best french toast I had on the island (and I'm something of a connoisseur). 

Fanciful dinner: Merriman's
Go for a sunset dinner, ask for a sunset table when you call for a reservation. This was one of the more expensive dinners we had, but it was well worth it!  
Haleakala Sunset Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com Cotton Candy Pink Sunset Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com Sunset at Duke's Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com Last Sunset Leaving Maui | www.floralsandplaid.com Maui Sunset | www.floralsandplaid.com
Our favourite things from this trip:

  1. Drink mauimosas (like mimosas but with pineapple sparkling wine from the island instead of Champagne) on the patio while watching whales play between the islands. (Whale season ends mid-April and we were lucky enough to see them playing a lot in the first half of our trip!) 
  2. Cove hop and find a quiet little spot for snorkeling and napping. 
  3. Watch the sunrise at the top of Haleakala (over 10,000 ft above sea level). But take warm clothes because it gets really freaking cold up there. And chasing the sun in general. 
Haleakala Summit Sunset | www.floralsandplaid.comWe also spent one day/night in Honolulu and while I wasn't a big fan of the city (it was super congested, a lot of poverty, and just overall felt dirty and really touristy), but we did eat a couple of great meals.
Windward Town of Kailua, Oahu | www.floralsandplaid.com
Breakfast: Cinnamon's 808
This spot was recommended by everything I read online. So even though we were just there for a short time, we rented a car and drove to the little town of Kailua on the windward side of Oahu. We had breakfast at Cinnamon's and then went over to Lanikai beach for a little beach nap. Get the french toast. Yumm.

Sushi me (again): Morimoto Waikiki
We went here b/c a) it was close to our hotel, b) it had last minute reservations available, and c) the reviews were pretty good. The sushi was unbelievably fresh, and the kitchen was incredibly accommodating with the american's gluten free dietary restriction. In fact, they altered quite a few dishes on the menu for us and created scratch-made sauces to make sure we had no soy sauce in our meal (regular soy sauce contains gluten). It was an expensive dinner, but it was our last meal in Hawaii so we splurged.

All in all, a magical trip filled with magical moments. We can't wait to make our Hawaii visits a regularly occurring thing!

To see our updated Google Map of our favourite food spots, click here!

daily plaid - 04.24.2013

Daily Plaid | www.floralsandplaid.com

Photo originally found on here

happy (belated) birthday to me.

Last week I celebrated the birthday marking my final year in my 20's. It's a year filled with anxiety and with wonder. So much will be happening in the next 365 days; so many changes, that I felt it best to celebrate with a birthday present to myself!

After much research (both online and in store), I settled upon a Mackage (for Aritzia) motorcycle jacket in black leather. And just because this was a birthday present, doesn't mean I didn't stick to my new rules of shopping. This particular purchase fit 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the rules (not bad, if I do say so myself).

She's a beauty, and I'm quite in love.
Mackage for Aritzia Kenya Leather Jacket | www.floralsandplaid.com
The Mackage for Aritzia Kenya Jacket can be purchased here or in any Aritzia store (ps it comes in a few colours and I'm quite smitten with the nude colour as well).