Hawaii Blues

Hawaii Blues

{View of the Hanalei Bay from our hotel room in Princeville, Kauai}

Aloha :-) I’ve been the absolutely worst about posting!  Jake and I unplugged a few weeks ago as we left for Hawaii and our return was full of major catchup at work, prep for some exciting events and gearing up for a few product launches in March/April.  There wasn’t even time to think about the fact that I was so sad to be home and that my much anticipated time on the beach sipping on Mai Tais while listening to ukeleles had passed.  Looking back at these pictures of some of my favorite moments was really was bittersweet…. (read more below)… IMG_2842

{Searching for coral and playing on the rocks on the beach.  Hanalei Bay – Princeville, Kauai}IMG_2839

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{Palms soaking in the sun on the walk to our favorite little spot on Oahu}

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{The quiet street to our favorite little beach}

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{Into the blue!  Whale watching near China Walls, Oahu}

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{This one makes my heart burst :-) Happiest and most relaxed I’ve seen Jake in a long time}

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{A glimpse of sun rays over Hanalei Bay from the 7th hole at Makai. Princeville, Kauai}

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{Teeny tiny specks (surfers) riding some HUGE waves.  It’s hard to tell the scale, but with the storm rolling in, they were pretty big!}

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{Storm clouds rolling in over the Hanalei Bay}

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{Straight out of my camera, completely unedited.  Kauai truly is the Garden Island.  How lush, vibrant and amazing… Nature is *effing* awesome}

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{This might need to become a Sunday staple in our household… Belgian waffles + mango + banana + whipped cream + coconut shavings + coconut syrup.  Holy moly. Best waffles at Hanalei Coffee Roasters}

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{On our last day in Hawaii, we rented a car and drove around Oahu to the North Shore. We discovered Shrimp Shack along the way… and thank god we did ;-) Details below…}

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{Half coconut shrimp, half garlic shrimp.  I can still taste this and my mouth is watering just looking at it. Absolutely incredible.}

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{Finally made it to the North Shore}

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{These kids (probably ages 6-10) were THROWING themselves into these waves – getting completely blasted over and over again and having the time of their lives.  Just thinking about their little laughs (I would have been terrified) still makes me chuckle :-) }

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{Being swallowed up…}

IMG_2955{And running back in for more…}

Jake surprised me with my first trip to Hawaii for Christmas.  In fact, Hawaii was our first real vacation alone together in almost five years since we started dating.  We traveled to Costa Rica with his family three years ago (which was amazing) and we’ve taken long weekend trips and traveled back to my hometown in Michigan, but we’d never been somewhere new, just the two of us, for more than 2-3 days.  And we are by no means starving, but our five years together haven’t been a walk in the park either.  With him running a startup turned mid-sized company in one of the hardest, capital sucking industries to make it in (alcohol) and with me now working there, our lives consist of work and very little else most days.  From a financial and emotional perspective, starting and running a business is so ridiculously draining.  I have no idea how he does it, but his drive, tenacity and seemingly endless motivation inspires me every single morning.  However…. we really needed a vacation :-)

Having never been to Hawaii, we decided to spend our first few days on Oahu where we hiked, played in the ocean, went whale watching and laid for hours on the beach.  We went to bed at literally 10pm every night (a rarity in our lives) and got up early every morning to walk along the beach and grab coffee.  We got up to watch the sunrise on our last day there on our favorite little spot on the island before hopping over to Kauai for our remaining three nights and four days.  Ohhh Kauai… Kauai was a little bit of a splurge for us to say the least.  We stayed in Princeville, which we’ve been told is the most beautiful spot on the island overlooking the Hanalei Bay.  The water there is one of the most beautiful shades of blue juxtaposed against a wall of lush green mountains with countless waterfalls cascading down the hills and cliffs.  Kauai was truly the most beautiful place I’ve been in my life.  Unfortunately, we were cursed with rain for almost our entire time there which meant no sun (obviously), no “real” beach time, no hikes that we were looking forward to (they were all too dangerous with rain and flash flood warnings), no helicopter tours…  We attempted kayaking on Valentine’s Day in the Hanalei Bay and made it just in time for a storm to roll in.  We inevitably flipped, I thought I was dying, Jake thought knew I was ridiculous and we eventually made it back to the hotel in one piece.  One really positive part of the rain scenario is that it forced us to relax.  We slept SO much during those few days with the sound of the waves crashing outside our window and we enjoyed every second together talking about so much more than work (who knew?!), drinking wine, reading and making each other laugh… which really is the important part of vacationing with your love… am I right?!

By our third day of rainy laziness, we decided to brave the weather and walked along the cliffs in Princeville to the Makai Golf Club and out to the 7th hole (the most photographed place in Hawaii, apparently).  We were determined to hike to Queen’s Bath, but were warned that it was WAY too dangerous with the rain and high surf so we wanted at least an aerial view from the golf course.  That walk was one of the most crazy, out of body experiences I’ve ever had.  With the storm clouds rolling in over the bay and the warm rain shower that we just finally had to embrace together, while standing on the edge of the earth… I’ll never forget it.  We were soaked to the bone by the time we got back to our room, but it was worth every second and every drop to get out of the hotel and experience the unexplainable beauty that is Kauai.  Pictures really can not do it justice and it makes me sad, but I’ll carry those views and those moments with me forever.

With an even worse storm threatening to possibly delay or cancel our flight out of Lihue the following day, we decided to jump on an earlier flight back to Oahu to hopefully somewhere dry.  Unfortunately, the rain came with us, albeit much lighter rain, so after a little bit of cranky back and forth, we rented a car where at least we could stay dry and headed to the North Shore.  We had until 9:00pm to explore before we needed to be at the airport so we set out for some fish tacos and to see the record breaking waves making local news on the other side of the island.  I’m SO happy we decided to get out of Honolulu that day.  We had such wonderful memories there from the first three days of our trip, but by the time we were on our last day with perpetually wet clothes and tired from our early morning flight with no room to change in, it was time to bid farewell to the Moana Surfrider and explore Oahu beyond the big city.  On our drive, there was a sign for “Shrimp Shack” inscribed on a surfboard and I knew I’d found what we were looking for.  We pulled off the road for the best shrimp I’ve ever had in my life… fried in a food truck across from the ocean, eaten off floral print paper plates while sitting on plastic lawn chairs outside of a funky grocery story in Punaluu.  This was the real Hawaii I’d dreamed of.  An hour later, we were on the North Shore watching scads of what seemed like tiny kids launch themselves into a churning Pacific that pummeled them to the sand over and over again.  We watched partially in awe that people ever become comfortable watching their children get swallowed up by waves 2-3 times their height and partially with sheer joy and entertainment as the kids screeched and squealed with complete hilarity every time the ocean spit them back out.

We drove around for the next few hours, stopping occasionally to get out of the car and breath it all in.  We stopped for dinner at an awesome little Mexican restaurant (I wanted more fish tacos – don’t judge!) on our way to the airport and said goodbye to paradise.  I kept reminding myself while we were there throughout our trip to enjoy every single second because it would all be just a memory in the blink of an eye.  I can’t believe that it’s already just a memory.  But… if there’s anything major we learned while we were there, it’s to not wait another three years before taking a vacation.  I have a feeling we’ll be planning something again soon :-)

Until next time, Hawaii… Mahalo!

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