rainbows are not scarce in maui

Oh you know, just the fourth rainbow we spotted today. Maui, stop it.

I had every intention to regularly blog during our Hawaiian adventure. That’s the honest truth. But in between lounging by the pool, lazing down the lazy river, eating mountains of food and desperately trying to catch up on sleep, blogging took an appropriate back seat.

Besides, I was also busy taking photos of every rainbow that appeared from the blue and cloudy skies of Maui. And believe me, there were plenty! Like the one above taken in the early evening as we were headed to our Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt Regency in Lahaina.

So yes, back to intentions. I intended to enjoy and relax while I became an adopted resident of the beautiful state of Hawai’i for two entire weeks. Those intentions were fulfilled many times over and then some. I wouldn’t say we travel a lot, so we will have to see just how far up the list in my all-time favorite places Hawai’i ends up in, but boy did I love it there. I loved the people, the environment, the changing landscapes, its little quirks and the constant use of the phrase “Aloha” & “Mahalo”. I realize that we are in a very touristy place where they want to make you feel good to get you to spend, enjoy and spend some more. But I truly felt that more than half of the Aloha’s I received were genuine. It put a smile on my face on a constant basis. I really liked how it made me feel.

In an effort to continue the Aloha spirit, I will make it a goal to blog about our Kauai and Maui jaunts in the next couple of weeks. I have the luxury of being on leave from work until next Monday and I intend (there’s that word again) to blog a little more, read a little more and continue the relaxation. 2016 is just around the corner and it’s time to reflect on the great things that 2015 brought us and not so much the sad/bad things.

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the garden isle welcomes you

Getting some Vitamin D 🌞🌅🌊🏊

Aloha from Kauai! This is a good a time as any to return to the world of blogging and what a better setting than in paradise and where everyone is happy. It’s like Disney World by the beach.

My husband is presentating at a conference this week and the awesome organisers decided that Kauai would be the perfect setting to have hundreds of polymer chemists meet and work their brilliant minds together. How could I fault them for choosing this place? Well, I can’t and I won’t. I’m just thankful that I get to tag along for the ride.

Many are surprised to hear that neither Zach or I have ever been to the Aloha State. During the six years we lived in Missouri we never made the effort for a number of reasons. One, Hawaii is expensive, both in getting to and staying at and during our first years of marriage, we simply didn’t have the kind of savings to be spending galavanting around these islands. Two, whenever we took a holiday it was always to go visit my family in Australia. There just simply wasn’t enough time to justify a trip to Hawaii, with or without the extra money. And three, although Hawaii was appealing to us, it was never on the top of our list of places to visit.

But now that we have finally made it here, it’s now on our top ten of places to re-visit. What a beautiful state and its people are friendly and genuine. Sure everything is expensive (and will forever remain so, so let’s just accept that fact) but everything is also worth it. I work too damn hard working at my day job not to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Sure that salad we had for lunch may have converted to a $AUS25 lunch when all is said and done, but it was a darn good-sized salad at that. It is worth it. Life is honestly too short to not enjoy and spend the money we earn.

In the past 24 hours we have nearly covered the entire 52 acres of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. Nearly. This place has seven different pools and we’ve only swam in two of them. Good thing they’re open 24 hours. We have an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean and the great thing about this place is when they say “ocean view” they actually mean a bona fide ocean view without any obstructions (besides the palm trees that line the property). We were greeted with an aloha and a lei as we arrived and the chorus of aloha and mahalo from every single employee here at the Grand Hyatt is enough to put you on a Kauai state of mind from the moment you wake up to when you say goodnight. It really is something else here.

Well, this post has become one big endoresement for the Hyatt brand so I guess I better stop. I guess what I wanted to say is that we are finishing 2015 off on the right note. The past 12 months has been rough. It has been a year to forget, one that I would do a do-over if it were possible. I can’t wait for Christmas and then to say goodbye to this horrid year. I will not be looking back. But in the meantime, I will enjoy this Hawaiian vacation, reflect on the blessings of the year and look forward to what 2016 will bring us.

the grandest place

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I came across this article this evening and it immediately brought me back to the Summer of 2013 and to one of the best 4 days of my life: visiting Yosemite National Park.

No, no, no. We didn’t free climb our way up El Capitan. We just merely enjoyed the grandness of Yosemite. Oh, it was a wonderful trip! There we were, driving our bulky white God-knows-what-model-year Crown Vic around the windy roads of the Park that hot Summer week. It was glorious, it was one that I will always remember.

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Every picture taken was perfect, every stream we crossed divine, every sweat that trickled down my forehead was worth it. I was simply in awe of this place and I am almost selfishly wishing that no other National Park will ever top it. I want my memories of Yosemite to be the ultimate of my life (as far as Parks go, that is).

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I told Zach that one day, when we’re old and wrinkly, I want to make another trip to Yosemite and re-visit the places we reached and check on the giant sequoia tree that we re-named the Houston tree.

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 One day I will be back and all of those warm and fuzzy memories will come flooding back. I look forward to that day.

when you care enough to send the very best

In all honesty, my ultimate dream job is to work for Hallmark.

I love greeting cards. Sending them, receiving them, picking them out and even just perusing through them when I’m trying to kill some time at the store. I love the sentimental ones as much as the humorous ones and everything in between. During the six years we lived in the U.S., I kept Hallmark in business because I had over 20 family members living back here in Australia who celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, engagements, weddings, etc. Any and every chance I had, I would send a card – just for the heck of sending a card. I love a good witty card and I am of the belief that Hallmark makes the best kind.

It just happens, Hallmark is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and I had the pleasure of visiting their Hallmark Visitors Center in KC many times while living in Missouri. I remember getting giddy over the free bow maker they had at the center along with all the memorabilia and the dozen or so Hallmark decorated Christmas trees they had on display. Kid in a candy store, I was. Then we got a different doze of Hallmark right across the road at the Crown Center with the best Crayola store known to mankind, a Hallmark store on steroids and one time they had a wonderful Wizard of Oz exhibit.

i am for pineapples

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We’re in the midst of Spring here in Brisbane, which means Summer fruits are emerging from Winter hibernation (not that Brisbane has much of a cold spell anyway) and nothing screams Summer than pineapples! Delicious, sweet tasting (& smelling) pineapples. Yum, yum. We managed to score three decent sized pineapples for $5 at our favorite market over the weekend (at Rocklea). So naturally, I searched for pineapple recipes on Pinterest and stumbled upon one for Dole Whip.

When we went to Disney World a couple of years ago, I had heard about Dole Whip on the Disney Forums (which I frequented as part of my Disney research). Basically, Dole Whip is magic and, as if it was even more possible, it made the happiest place on earth even happier. Unfortunately, since our Disney schedule was so jam-packed, I had completely forgotten about Dole Whip until our very last day at Disney. I was so determined to try it out that we travelled all the way from Epcot just to go back to Magic Kingdom so that I could stand in a line and order this marvelous concoction made from pineapples. And yes, it was worth it.