January 9th

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

It took us forever to decide what to do today.

Mostly because we didn’t have to be to the airport until 8pm but Emma had to check out of the hotel this morning, so out last access to a shower was 10am. Which maybe doesn’t seem like a big deal until you think about the fact that anywhere you go and anything you do in Hawaii requires sunscreen unless you want to bake. Which also means you sweat a lot.

In an effort to be kind to our fellow passengers for tonight’s flight we were trying to brainstorm things we could do inside – which seemed like a total crime when you’re in a place as beautiful as Hawaii.

So in the end we said screw it, and we went to the beach. And boy, are we sure glad we did!

One of our favorite restaurants on the beach is Duke’s. We ended up going there for dinner on Sunday night and turns out they do a big party on Sundays. Have you ever heard the song “Duke’s on Sunday” by Jimmy Buffet? We hadn’t until Sunday when we walked up and there was a massive amount of people waiting for a table. Someone said something about how busy it was to the hostess and she smiled, shrugged, and said “Well, that’s Duke’s on Sunday.”

It came so naturally off her tongue that it seemed like a tagline or something. We didn’t think overly hard about it until another waiter came by and it said “Duke’s on Sunday” on his shirt. Then naturally we Googled it, and it’s a big thing evidently. It was really fun to be there and experience that. Live music, good food, and dance party on the beach.

Anyway, we really like eating there, so we thought we’d go for lunch one last time.

That end of the beach is a twenty minute walk from the resort, so we planned to go to that side and spend the entire afternoon there. When we made it over there, we remembered that a crew does Catamaran sails off the beach there, and we didn’t get to go last time.


We were able to hop on the early sail, and there was only 8 other people on the boat. Normally they can go out with 60 people! It was private and so wonderful – we were able to move around on the boat and we got to really chat with the couple of guys running the sails. I was almost dance-party worthy excited when they said that they saw dolphins all day yesterday, and that it was whale season. Especially when we weren’t ten minutes into our sail and we saw a sea turtle!


I was sitting there really booting myself in the behind for not having my camera, because DUH DOLPHINS AND WHALES – but in the end, we didn’t see any of either.

So I’m glad to report that I did indeed survive an entire vacation without my big camera. In fact, as I was sitting on the bus with Paul on our way to the airport I thought to myself that I was actually glad I didn’t bring it with – it was a treat to be unburdened by gear and be able to be truly present. I wasn’t able to provide quality pictures for you all and this blog, but I hope you’ll forgive me.

See you back in MN, friends!

January 5th

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

Good morning from the North Shore!

Emma had a free day today, so we decided to rent a car for the day so we could drive a loop around the rest of the island with her. However, we splurged a little and did something different than the last time we were here – we rented a convertible! No, not a mustang, a mid-size Mini Cooper, but it was marvelous.


We stopped and had breakfast at a local diner and then made our way up to our favorite beach (pictured). While it was a tad cooler there than other beaches in the area, it is also very very quiet. We made up half of the people on the beach this morning.  It felt nice to be in a quiet area after being down on Waikiki on a Friday night.

The rest of the day we hopped from beach to beach; there was a surfing competition going on at some other great beaches, so traffic was crazy and parking was a bit impossible which was a bummer, but we still enjoyed the drive.

It feels good to be back!


June 2nd

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

Well, today did not go as planned.

We were supposed to be on a plane home this afternoon.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.

Fewer than five seats available on most flights, standby lists over 15 people long, us being at the bottom of that list….you do the math.

Not only for today, but tomorrow, and the next day. Paul has to work on Monday, so we ran out of options.

So we did something we’ve never done before: We bought ourselves tickets home. Well, we bought ourselves tickets to LAX, then we’ll non-rev from there to MSP. We’re going to at least get ourselves to the mainland, and we can handle it from there.

So for today, we enjoyed the beach. Allllllll day. Waikiki beach from 9am-4pm. Lots of sun, sand, and saltwater. For a day we didn’t plan on being here, it was perfect.

May 29th

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

First full day in Honolulu: check!

Paul was pretty disappointed today when we woke up to overcast skies and rain showers. The weather hasn’t really been great so far, partly cloudy bordering mostly cloudy on the best day, so he was hoping that coming to the south side of the island would change that.

Nope. Just stuck in a weird weather pattern.

So at breakfast we tried to brainstorm what we could do, as all of the activities we’d planned on doing this entire trip are outdoor activities. We thought, hey let’s go to Diamond Head, no one will want to hike in the rain.

Wrong. Parking lot full, no admittance.


So then we kept driving East and came across the Halona Blowhole. That was pretty neat; the coastline was gorgeous in itself, so that was worth the drive.

IMG_0347 Halona Blowhole.

After that, we kind of exhausted our East Honolulu options. So back to Waikiki we went.

At that point, the showers had stopped, so we parked at our condo, packed our bag, and figured we’d go walk the beach.

Here’s the nice thing about Hawaii: Even when it’s overcast, it’s so warm that laying on the beach is 100% possible. So that’s what we did. The sun never broke through the clouds, but the warm temperatures and humidity kept us comfortable all day.

Paul even rented a surfboard and tried his hand at surfing! He did great, and it was fun to watch. Actually, talk about fun to watch – while we were laying on the beach, a man was fishing and caught a (very small) shark and a puffer fish! People came running to watch him pull them out of the water.


Tonight, we stopped at Duke’s on the beach and had dinner. The cajun fish tacos won us over, and for dessert they had the best macadamia nut ice cream pie – truly delicious!

May 28th

Monday, May 28th, 2018

I am in a beautiful place with this crazy amazing guy. I mean, this is the stuff of dreams.

Last night we stumbled across a beach that is within walking distance of our AirBNB. We went for a walk around the neighborhood, and there it was: A little walkway between two properties that snaked its way down to the ocean.

We had run out of daylight by that point, so we didn’t stay long, but we made plans to come back this morning.

Before we came to Hawaii, I knew I wanted to carve out time to take a good picture of Paul and I on the beach. With my “new” camera (coming up on having it for a year already!), I can turn on the built in WiFi and trigger remote from an app on my phone.  Hence why I’ve been trying to do more self portraits this year.

So Paul and I planned to get up early this morning to be the first people on the beach to set up my tripod and take pictures of the two of us.

He’s such a good sport.

It was so beautiful. Storms were slowly moving in from one direction, so there was this ominous feeling of rain. And in the other, the clouds were colorful because of the sunrise.

On the gorgeous north shore with the waves rolling in and the ocean breeze teasing my wispy hair.

With this man who will always hold my heart.

I will treasure the pictures we took forever.

We checked out of our North Shore AirBNB later this morning, and moved our circus down to Honolulu this afternoon.

From a shack with and outdoor shower to a condo on the 27th floor with views of the ocean.

We walked down to Ala Moana Beach, and it was a mad house. We thought it was just because of Memorial Day today (Pearl Harbor is next door), but it turned out to be an annual Lantern Floating ceremony.

Thousands of people on the beach. THOUSANDS. (Note: I looked into it now that we’re home and 50,000 people were on the beach!)

But when the lanterns went out, it was beautiful. So many people remembering loved ones. They had big screens showing people as they let their lanterns go in the water, and this sweet little boy, who looked to be about 8 or 9 pushed his out with tears streaming down his little face as he turned into his mom’s arms as they sobbed together.

My eyes were dry until that point.

It made me really stop and think about all of the stories standing on that beach at that moment. Thousands of people, each thinking of people who influenced their life. People they miss. What are their stories? Who are they? Was this little boy missing his dad? How has that changed his relationship with his mom? It made me want to hug strangers.

So as the day comes to a close, I find myself very fortunate that I had taken these pictures with Paul this morning. A celebration of life and love, a moment frozen in time of thankfulness.

May 27th

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Only day two on the island, and we’ve learned that if there’s something you want to do, a beach you want to go to, you have to get there early.

That, my friends, is the key.

Being five hours behind here in Hawaii, that luckily isn’t an issue for us. We’ve been up by 5:30 every morning, feeling like we slept in until 10:30.

So this morning, we got up, packed our snorkeling gear, and hit the road for Pupukea Beach. All of the tourism information has said that that is the best spot for novice snorkelers, so that’s where we wanted to start.

We started in a really rocky area that was sheltered from incoming waves, but it was shallow and I got cut up by the rocks, and it honestly wasn’t all that fun so we came back to shore.

Turns out we weren’t in the right spot at the beach, because we hiked out on the lava rocks further out to a pool, and that was the jackpot.

The water was so calm, deep, and there were fish EVERYWHERE!

Paul telling me to put the camera down and get in the water to look at all of the fish.

And we were the only ones there – just us and the fish. Phenomenal is the word that comes to mind. It was cool temperature-wise, however, and that’s what ultimately drove us back out of the water.

On our hike back out, we passed at least 10-15 people on their way out there, so our timing was perfect.

We stopped for breakfast at Ted’s roadside cafe (Food trucks are a huge thing on the north shore), and it was delicious.

The rest of the morning we drove all the way around the island. The complete circumference. And it only took three hours. Totally crazy.

May 26th

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

This magical place has made me say “wow” so many times today.

I mean, when your day starts out by swimming with sea turtles, it’s hard not to be in awe of God’s creation.

Yep, sea turtles.

Before we left yesterday, I had been thinking about the animals that would be here to photograph. Sea Turtles were at the top of my wish list, but honestly didn’t expect to see any. Not only did we see them, but they came in so close!

By law you must stay at least ten feet away from them, but they were so curious! I was giggling with glee, folks. An experience I will never forget that is for sure.

But let’s rewind.

Hawaii is five hours behind central time, so Paul and I woke up at 5am, bright eyed and ready to go. We showered up, packed up for the day and went into town in search of coffee. Right across from Jerry’s Pizza was a local shop, so we stopped there.

Remember how I mentioned the chickens that were in the median in our drive last night?

Evidently feral chickens is a thing on the north shore. They are EVERYWHERE. Including the parking lot where we stopped for coffee this morning. We were the only people in the parking lot, and as we got out of the Jeep, they came out from under bushes, parked cars, everywhere and came toward us like we were going to feed them.


I quite enjoyed it.

So then we hit the road, found a pull off where we went down to the beach and met the sea turtles.


Pure magic.

Then we basically beach hopped the rest of the day. We drove along the entire north shore to see what each beach looked like, how wavy it was, what was around for food, parking, etc. It’s amazing how the beaches, weather, and the surf change depending on where you are on the island.
It was so so lovely. No agenda, no rush, no expectations.

And then driving home from Pounders Beach (BIG waves there, hence the name), there was an amazing burst of color as the sun set.

IMG_9453IMG_9807IMG_9467Top: Beach view of Pounders
Middle: Locals body boarding on waves for scale
Bottom: Paul enjoying the waves with the busted body board he found (ha!).

We’re hoping to beat the crowds and go to a popular snorkeling spot tomorrow morning. We’ll see what the morning brings!