Family visit and Kauai trip

Oh boy, this post has taken me a while to get up.

It’s funny how you can believe, like I do, that carrying around a camera and taking photos can help you to see even more clearly the beauty around you; to create and remember moments, but…. occasionally….. be too busy living to spend much time behind a lens.

And that’s more than okay – in fact, I think it’s good to just look at things without the aim to capture them sometimes. To live in a moment without recording it, right then, on the spot.

It does making creating a blog post meant to encompass your vacation a little more difficult, though. Because we were busy enjoying each other’s company for much of the time, we didn’t get photos of everything we did with Christian’s family while they were with us on Oahu and when we all island-hopped to Kauai. But we did take a few, because I really wanted to record some of the things we did so that I could look back on the time later and to share the experiences with all of you.

Christian’s family came to Hawaii during the week of my birthday, and we celebrated at seriously every meal. I love birthdays and holidays and (let’s be honest) getting attention, so it was perfect. One thing that is always fun with the Mapes family is to gather around a table and enjoy great food, wine and conversation. We went out to eat at so many wonderful places, and we also cooked a lot at our house and at the hotel we were at in Kauai.

When I say “we” cooked, I really mean that Christian’s family cooked for us. When we had a barbecue outside at our house in Oahu, my mother-in-law literally cooked three meals at once, as well as side-dishes and appetizers to go with the meal for that particular night. Watching her in the kitchen is seriously like watching superman put on his cape, I swear. It was so wonderful to have family over to enjoy the sunset with, since I’ve always envisioned using a porch as a place to gather with family and friends.

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While we were on Oahu, Christian still had to work, so we mostly just relaxed and hung out at our beach or at Turtle Bay where Christian’s parents were staying. We did go on a tour of Pearl Harbor and visit Waimea Falls, as well as have a birthday dinner for me (the first of many) at Haleiwa Beach House, where I got a free chocolate dessert (score!). And my sister-in-law went with me to my first Bikram yoga class at my local yoga studio, which was very exciting, as I’ve been going ever since. It was really just so nice to show family where we live and to spend time together.

Then on the day before my birthday we flew to Kauai, and Christian’s vacation finally started. We were only in Kauai for 4 days (including Easter Sunday), but we had such a great time, and I know Christian and I will go back to Kauai at some point. It is gorgeous and much less crowded than Oahu, which can be nice for a vacation.

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Airport essentials

A quick fun fact about me and airports: One time when I flew to New York to visit Christian during college, I was wearing a wide-brimmed black hat and sunglasses and some guy came up to me at baggage claim, peered underneath my hat and said, “Miss Lohan? Is that you?” Because apparently he thought I was Lindsay Lohan, and apparently on some level I think I’m a celebrity hiding from paparazzi with my disguise-like fashion choices at airports. LOL, whoops. Never changing. P.s. my sunglasses and suitcase here are both from Amazon!

In Kauai, we kayaked a river and hiked through mud and dense vegetation to get to a waterfall. It was super tiring but really cool – I hiked mostly barefoot because I didn’t bring tennis shoes, and I got so muddy and looked truly hilarious. I felt like I was Mowgli from The Jungle Book. Once we got to the waterfall we swam in the startlingly cold water and you could feel the spray of the waterfall mist; it was so rejuvenating. I don’t have any quality photos of this experience because my camera isn’t waterproof, but we did get some blurry go-pro shots 😉

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A go-pro shot of us kayaking to the waterfall hike

We tried a ton of great restaurants while in Kauai (and celebrated my birthday at each, which was so special), went to a Luau, had delicious fruity drinks at Duke’s, hungout poolside and oceanside at our hotel, and I got to visit the spa on my birthday!

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At Duke’s in Kauai
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Enjoying the beach near our hotel

Christian also went on a helicopter tour with his brother, and they took some really amazing pictures from up in the sky. Apparently a majority of Kauai’s beaches can only be seen/reached this way.

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On Easter before we all had to part ways, we shopped for a while and ate dinner in Kapaa. We found the cutest shops there. One was a clothing store called Shipwrecked, which also shares a wall with an adorable coffee shop/cafe. I found a silk bandana-style scarf there that I’ve been wanting, so I was really excited 🙂 We ate dinner at Sam’s, which was a really cool restaurant that overlooks the ocean. They had board games in their waiting area, and we ended up taking our scrabble game to the table to play over dinner, which of course was ideal.

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The plate says it all

The whole trip left me feeling very, very grateful, and ready to take on this 23rd year.

Take that, Blink-182. 🙂


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