Hawaiian vacation – Oahu

Finally getting the chance to blog about the last of our trip.

Sunday was the hubby’s birthday, and we left Maui in the afternoon. By the time we got to our hotel (the right hotel- there was a mixup with the shuttle service…), it was almost sunset. We stayed right on Waikiki Beach, which is eons different than our Maui experience!  It’s definitely beautiful, but more like a college spring break party. We hit the end of a happy hour nearby and watched the sunset and sipped birthday drinks.

We spent the rest of the day and night strolling the Waikiki Beach Walk, sipping fruity drinks, seeking out the most delicious-looking dessert to qualify as Jonathan’s late-night birthday cake, and sitting in the sand.

The next day we got up early and picked up a convertible (we weren’t going to rent a car but changed our mind when we saw how long all the tours were). We headed to Pearl Harbor first. I work for a defense contract and know lots of fine military folks and have family in the military. It’s impossible not to think of them and really appreciate what they’ve done for our country, when you visit Pearl Harbor.

After that we drove the North Shore and watched surfers, spent time on various beaches, found enormous slices of pizza for lunch, and drank the milk out of coconuts from a roadside stand. Yum!

Our final day in Hawaii was so fun, but so sad – it was going to be so hard to leave! We mainly spent beach time all day. I was determined to bring home a bit of a tan and we wanted to soak up all the sunshine we could before coming to back to dreary Utah. Jonathan did more snorkeling and I napped in the sun. We had some shave ice (yum!) and walked around picking up the last of the souveniers we wanted to bring back for family and friends.

So sad to leave, but hopefully we will go back one day! What an amazing place! Thanks for reading about our vacation. (: By the way – lots more photos here.


Hawaiian vacation – Maui

We’ve been back from Hawaii for a week and a half now, and I am only just getting around to posting. I wanted to spend some time and give a detailed account of our fantastic trip, giving it the attention it deserved. It was absolutely perfect. But unfortunately reality slapped me in the face when returning to (cold)  Utah, with a conference to plan at work, WAY too much homework to contend with, and on top of all of it I let the jetlag and backlog wear me down and I’ve been sick for the past few days. Bummer, dude. So thus why I am just getting around to posting today about a trip that was totally great. I would go back to Hawaii in a SECOND.

We spent time on Maui and Oahu, but I will focus on Maui for now since I’m limited on time! I will post about Oahu tomorrow, hopefully!

On Maui, we stayed at Hotel Wailea, a really charming place with seperate little bungalows (kind of – there were 4 to a unit). Ours must have had the best view of the ocean of all the units – it was absolutely gorgeous. We got in at night and didn’t realize what we would wake up to. Which was the sound of tropical birds and moody early-morning views of tropical foliage and ocean. Perfect.

All of our time in Hawaii was filled up because there is just so much to do and see. Luckily I actually scheduled us in some beach time or it may not have happened, and that would have been tragic. It was my favorite part. Day 1 we drove the Road to Hana. Everyone talks about this. It’s as gorgeous as they say. But what you don’t realize is it’s SO long. 15 miles or so doesn’t seem like much at all, but on a twisty, turny, narrow road, it is so, so long. We had a luau we’d pre-paid for scheduled at 5pm and we barely made it back in time and we didn’t even make the entire drive. But it was amazing, and filled with lava-sand beaches, waterfalls, moss-covered bridges, and charming shrimp shack establishments.

One thing that immediately made an impression on me is how nice everyone was in Hawaii. The cab drivers were not the Vegas-variety, our waitresses were not the jaded Utah variety. Everyone wanted to give you tips on where to go, what to see, and learn about you. You could absolutely show up with no plan and rely on the locals to plan your trip minute-by-minute. Every single person we met, without exception, was helpful and warm and genuinely happy to meet us. I am convinced, it is impossible to be in a bad mood on Maui, Hawaii!

The luau was brilliant! No good pictures of the dancing due to weird lighting but it was very fun. The Kalua pork was phenominal even though I had a hard time getting past seeing it whole and roasted first! And I could live on fresh pineapple! Hula dancing is so beautiful, and it can almost make me trance out like a Portishead show. I don’t own anything tropical and luau-ish, so I made due with a flower in my hair.

Day 2, we got up early and did some snorkleing! I’d never swam in the ocean and I was totally freaked out that I could paddle around and breathe while looking around with my eyes open! (As a forever-contacts wearer, swimming just isn’t that awesome normally!). We saw a few fish (nothing too notable, unfortunately, except the eel I saw!) We spent time on the beach and for the first time in my adult life, I wore a bikini in public, with nothing over it. This was kind of a big deal for me (enough so it was an item on my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30!- check!). The beach we went to in Maui was luxurious- we got chairs and umbrellas and towels with our hotel access card (perk!) and soaked up sun amongst the rich folks!

Ahead of time we purchased tickets on a whale-watching tour, reading that January was prime whale-watching season, so we spent our afternoon on a boat sipping mai tais and watching for the world’s most ah-inspiring creatures. And I don’t mean that the cliche way, I mean literally, everyone would say “ahhhhh!” ohhhh!” whenever a whale would so much as show its tail. We saw dozens of whales and the sunset was magical. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone traveling to Maui. This was the trip bargain – $30 for both of us for a 2 hour tour – just search the web for great deals.

Our final day in Maui, we spent more beach time before our afternoon flight back to Oahu for a few more days. That was Sunday, and Jonathan’s 29th birthday! Lucky boy, his first ever warm-weather birthday! It was so hard to leave knowing the next island would be equally lovely but more more city-like. We had no idea! I will give you all some Honolulu details shortly.

hawaiian vacation

Even though we’ve been saving our pennies in a travel fund for over a year and booked everything half a year in advance to get the best deals, I still feel so incredibly spoiled saying we are going to Hawaii this week! Everything’s paid for minus the food and souvenirs, so it should be a stress-free, much-needed break from the bitter cold Utah winter and the daily office grind. SO excited to get there.

I’ve been slowly packing as I think of things then I’ll try to pair down to some mix-and-match outfits for all the occasions. I love packing, and usually sketch out my outfits or make some dorky Polyvore collage because I think planning is one of the best parts of anything!

On the agenda:

Maui –

  • Resort stay
  • Half-day whale watching cruise
  • Full-on luau
  • Road to Hana drive {with rainforests, waterfalls, hiking, snorkeling…}
  • Hiking a dormant volcano
  • Shopping/wineries/galleries and cheese-tasting in Haleakala

Oahu –

  • Beach-front hotel
  • Beach-walk, fruity drinks and lots and lots of sand time
  • North shore to watch surfing
  • Snorkling at Turtle Bay
  • Pearl Harbor

I’ll be a bad blogger for the next week and a half, as I’m in crunch time for homework before we head out! Aloha!

operation: get hot. hawaii-bound edition. one month to go!

I looked at the calendar and screamed today. Screamed. Like, in the office, an audible ACK! When I realized one month from today I will be jettin to Hawaii!!!

You guys know I am committed, right? A woman of my word? I wouldn’t lie to you, intentionally. So while we are on the subject of intentions… remember how I had vowed to drop 15lbs doing the low carb thing? I forgot to take into account:

1. I don’t like meat.

2. It’s the holidays.

3. Salads don’t keep me warm.

When I hit a plateau with the low-carb thing I gave it up because I cannot stomach more pork roast and green beans for dinner if I’m not seeing results. I am a sissy like that.

So remember my initial 6lb weight loss? I have just sustained that for the past several weeks … and I’m ok with it. I still have 4 more weeks to do the best I can. I didn’t GAIN weight over the holiday season but I don’t know it’s possible to reach my insane goal, either. Considering the deep-fried fat pills around the office the past 2 weeks I’m not even mad at myself. 😉

Anyway, boring update-purpose-only post. Here’s to 30 days of solid effort before a well-deserved vacation!

operation: get hot. hawaii-bound edition. week 1 recap.

A week ago I started on my goal to get superhot for Hawaii. I’m basking in some week 1 success, and rewarded myself with a very NON sugar free Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks today because, get this, scale says I am down 6lbs! I’m guessing about 4 of those pounds are water weight, because I don’t feel like my clothes are any looser. When I lost 6lbs on Weight Watchers, I could tell. Ya know? So, I’m trying to be realistic here, be proud of myself but not get too cocky, because week 2 will probably be a little different. I have no delusions that I’ll be losing 6lbs a week and looking like an Olsen twin by week 5.

Here’s what made the week easier {and dare I say…fun}:

  • Planning and being excited about trying new recipes.
  • I haven’t counted a single calorie. I just went to the gym a few times, snacked when I was hungry, but avoided starches and {added} sugar. Since I don’t really eat much meat, I mainly filled up on veggies {salads and soups}, fruit, eggs, nuts, & yogurt. Did gorge myself on turkey burger lettuce wraps a few times though – YUM! When the food is GOOD it’s really not that hard to skip the plate of pasta. Yet.
  • Drank lots of water & tea.
  • Learning to do Bento boxes. It’s so fun! And there are so many blogs about Bento! Here’s my second Bento attempt {spinach quiche, apples, raw veggies, edemame}. Not cute. But delicious! Admittedly all I’m doing is just transporting food in smaller portions for lunch. But that in itself is a great thing!
  • Realizing I haven’t been feeling nauseous after I eat.. the entire week! This is kind of a huge deal.

This week I plan to just keep it up and see how it goes. Might do something a little more exciting with the Bento box.

A quote:

Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can.


operation: get hot. hawaii-bound edition.

Husband and I are taking a trip to Hawaii this winter (end of January)! I am soooo excited. It’s only 10 weeks away! Perfect inspiration I need to get looking great.

Wear a bikini in public, and go on a tropical vacation are on my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30! Here we go… Operation: Bikini Body begins tomorrow!

My measurable goal is to lose 15lbs. That is 1.5lbs/week. I’m going to do it (I hope) by cutting out sugars and starches {or keeping them to very minimal, anyway}, loading up on water, and hitting the gym 4 days a week.

I always turned up my nose at the low-carb thing in the past because I’d only heard the extreme version. The kind that doesn’t allow apples, the kind that includes snacks like cream cheese covered pork rinds. Blegh! But I’ve done a little research on how it can be done in a very healthy way without eliminating carbs but cutting way, way back on pasta, rice, potatoes and bread. You know, the good stuff.

I chose the low-carb approach for a couple reasons:

  1. I have been cutting back on them ANYWAY because I’ve pegged them as what’s making me feel sick after I eat.
  2. With junk around the holidays, I’m much more successful at saying NO to all of it rather than try to do it in moderation.
  3. I don’t have to give up cheese. Ha!
  4. It’s doable because I love salads and soups, and it can be done very healthfully without subbing in red meats and processed foods with a little planning. It’s how I eat ANYWAY when I’m not being naughty {which is way too often…}. Just need to plan better.

Because my goals require lots of planning to stay on track, I made myself a little weekly menu & workout planner. I will work one up each Saturday for the week ahead, including meals and workouts, being flexible around my schedule.  Like so:

I’ll make my grocery list from this and it will keep me ahead of the game in lots of ways. For example, today I have chicken tortilla soup in the crock pot for a couple meals throughout the week, I’ll know to boil eggs for a chef salad the day before, etc. Dishes that take time are reserved for weekends and nights I won’t be spending as much time in the gym. And I’ll leave Sundays open, as we generally eat dinner at either my parent’s house or my inlaw’s house.

I don’t imagine Week 1 will go perfectly or that this will necessarily be the format for coming weeks. Right now I’m just diving in and getting my body used to life without pasta and back on a regular gym schedule. I’ll track my progress in the last box and keep a total of lbs lost, similar to Weight Watchers, so you can see your overall progress even if one week the scale doesn’t budge. That total lbs lost will still remind me that I’ve made a dent! I plan to also do a before and after bikini shot but that will absolutely NOT end up on the Internet. 😉

Look out for a weekly update on this for the next ten… yikes! Hope I don’t drive you all insane. 😉 I need the blog for the accountability so be patient (and encouraging!) please. And if anyone wants to join my 10 week challenge (whatever it takes to make it fun!) please let me know and I will cheer you along, too!