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Here’s the last of the Hawaii posts. Maui! Maui was the familiar old friend of this trip. I’ve been to the island many times — as a little kid, as a teenager, as a college kid, and as an adult. It’s always lovely but we were all surprised at how crowded it felt this time around — more traffic and more people! It’s full of memories though, so it’ll forever be a favorite place.

  • The day we arrived on Maui was terrible – windy, RAINY, gray, and again, so much rain. The weather forecast was not good and we were becoming very concerned that our time on Maui would be nothing but rain. It took forever to pick up our rental car, it took forever to drive to our condo, and we were all a little grumpy. So we stopped at the grocery store, picked up a pizza, cooked it at our condo, and had a sad first night on the island!
  • The next day, however, I woke up early, checked the weather, and probably looked like a kid smiling on Christmas morning. It was beautiful outside. Sunny with clear blue skies — just what we wanted! And it pretty much stayed that way until the day we left. We lucked out and are very grateful!
  • We went to the Shops at Wailea for some retail therapy and had lunch at the Tommy Bahama restaurant – which was a fond memory from our last trip. The food was delish! Later in the day, my mom and I walked down to Whalers’ Village – a shopping center down the beach from our condo. Are you sensing a shopping theme for our first day?
  • The next day we explored Lahaina. I have a love/hate relationship with Lahaina – it wouldn’t be Maui without it, but it’s kind of the seedy tourist trap area. *shrugs* HOWEVER, Dole Whip has made it to Maui and I almost screamed with delight when I discovered this! Y’all know how much I love Dole Whip.
  • We had a late lunch and many fruity drinks at the Westin next door to our condo building. The Westin’s food was really good — and their drinks were even better. It was so relaxing!
  • The next day was a lounge around day. We went to breakfast, sat at the pool, napped, lounged some more, etc. Rough life, eh? I went to the Chinese New Year celebration at Whalers’ Village, which was really cool.
  • I’ve kind of lost track of days, but one night we went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and it was so disappointing! Normally we love Ruth’s but man, this was a bummer. Never again!
  • Our last day on Maui was cloudy and dreary. Not much to do except shop (again) and eat (some more). Good thing we excel at both activities.
  • I enjoyed this trip to Maui. Last time I was there (10 years ago), it was go-go-go-go-go with non-stop planned activities like ziplining and snorkeling. This time around, it was more relaxing and a do-nothing kind of attitude. Loved it.
  • I joked with my mom that I’d like to come back to Maui again… but hopefully sooner than 10 years from now ;) Thanks to my parents for a wonderful vacation and for allowing me to tag along. I’m lucky for every day that I have with them.

A depressing airport photo of our depressing arrival.
But the next day was sunny and we were all happy!
Shops at Wailea.
More shave ice – what a surprise!
Big ol’ banyan tree.
Me trying to get Mothership to smile. :)
We drank so. many. fruity. alcohol-y. drinks.
The beautiful outdoor dining area of the Westin.
Pete somehow managed to send me a postcard – timed it exactly right! What a gem.
Breakfast with a view.
Intentionally matchy-matchy with our hats, unintentionally matchy-matchy with our outfits.
I’m 99% sure we were laughing at my mom trying to figure out my iPhone camera. It’s not her best life skill.
Every woman in the world should have the body confidence of every mediocre middle-aged white man.
Happy Year of the Dog!
View from the condo.
I bought the most Hawaiian dress of all time; trying to figure out how to make it work in Wisconsin.
It was dreary all day, then we got THIS sunset. *hearts in eyes*
I love how it’s 100% acceptable to have a turquoise house here.
When it rains on Maui, eat some ice cream and a rainbow sprinkle cone.
Our condo was beautiful.
My dream color palette – island greens!
On our way to the airport, we stopped here. CUTENESS!
Maui now has a Target. Which makes me happy AND sad. But because of who I am as a person, I made us visit.
Bye, Hawaii, you were great.
PS: The magnet collection grows!

Oh my holy heaven, Kauai is magical. It was my favorite island of the three we visited on this trip. The minute we got off the plane I thought to myself, “oh yes, I’m going to love it here.” It’s very relaxed, quiet, and full of wild chickens. Here are my bullet-pointed thoughts:

  • We only had 2 days here. Not enough time! I’d love to come back and spend a week.
  • Our hotel, the Grand Hyatt Kauai, was so lovely. Beautiful, clean, and aesthetically comforting – if that makes any sense. It took a nanosecond to forget our bad Big Island experience!
  • We had fruity drinks at the pool bar when we arrived, and then headed up to Waimea Canyon. Waimea Canyon is kind of like the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The drive up is lengthy with lots of twists and turns – it was a little nauseating, but the end result was worth it!
  • The next day, we took a DOORS OFF helicopter ride! It was so cool. Well, it was 90% cool and 10% scary… because, again, DOORS OFF. I bought a little harness for my cell phone that I wore around my neck because I wasn’t gonna be that person who drops her cell phone out of the helicopter.
  • The entire Jack Harter Helicopters experience was great – everyone was friendly and I felt safe the entire time. They physically seat belted you in, so you knew you were secure. Our pilot, Ian, was very chill and knowledgeable – and he got a kick out of the fact that we are from Oshkosh, as he’s been to EAA!
  • The helicopter ride lasted about an hour – it was chilly and windy – but you guys, it was Jurassic Park come to life. They even played the theme song over the headsets! I was giddy! A large portion of Kauai is inaccessible by car – so a helicopter truly is the best way to see it all. Though next time I want to see the Na Pali coast via boat!
  • Denny did not participate, but he met us once we landed and snuck into our photo! Uncool, Denny! It’s OK, I think he was just thrilled that his girls were back on solid ground.
  • After our adrenaline rushes subsided, we hopped back into the car and took a little road trip up to Princeville, Hanalei, and Kapaa. Everything was so dreamy and beautiful and colorful.
  • My mom and I stopped for a shave ice at Ono Ono in Kapaa – and of course, I made sure that mine looked like a rainbow. Strawberry, pineapple, and blue raz for the win! Shave ice is so good and refreshing.
  • Hanalei was hippie central and although I couldn’t be less of a hippie if I tried, I loved the area.
  • Are you tired of my raving about Kauai yet?! Too bad!
  • We returned to the Poipu Beach area and went shopping — because it wouldn’t be a vacation without a little shopping.
  • The next day, we had to leave. I was so sad. Happy that Maui was next, but I was really wishing for more time on Kauai. You know how you have some experiences that you know you’ll remember with a smile on your face for the rest of your life? Well, this 48 hours on Kauai, doing crazy things like a doors-off helicopter ride and simple things like eating a rainbow shave ice with my momma, will be one of those memories.

Even the airport is tiny and precious.
Grand Hyatt Kauai – isn’t she beautiful?
Relaxed and loving our leis.
A few tropical drinks and all is right in the world.
Waimea Canyon! Photos don’t really do it justice.
JB’s photo-taking skillz are improving!
Chickens everywhere.
Adventure awaits!
Na Pali Coast. So beautiful!
Sorry that some of these photos are a little off kilter. It’s more difficult than you’d think to take iPhone pics while you’re up in the air!
Welcome to Jurassic Park. That’s Manawaiopuna Falls on the right – which is featured in one of the opening scenes of the movie.
We did it! I thought it was really fun and I’d do it again – it’s like being on the world’s coolest roller coaster.
Puff the Magic Dragon-land.
Oh look, more shave ice!
Isn’t it pretty?
Back at the hotel – with more gorgeous views!
Hey, Beannie.
Vacation eating is the best. Chocolate chip waffles! Pineapple! More waffles!
Goodbye for now, Kauai. You were spectacular!

I’m finally starting to work my way through my Hawaii photos (sorry for the delay, Denny). We were away from the cold, snowy Midwest for a wonderful 11 days. Our trip, overall, was amazing. We had mostly good weather, delicious food, and everyone stayed healthy — what more can you ask for?

We spent a few days on the Big Island, a few days on Kauai, and about a week on Maui. I’m breaking the blog posts up by island because it would be too overwhelming to do it any other way. We arrived on the Big Island on Valentine’s Day and our time on the island was, quite honestly, very disappointing. Here are my bullet-pointed opinions:

  • The entire reason for visiting this island was to see Volcanoes National Park. We drove all the way there (2.5 hours) only to be rained, fogged, and vogged (volcanic fog) out. We literally could not see anything in the park. SO DISAPPOINTING! After spending about 10 minutes at the Visitors’ Center, we started the drive back to the Kona side of the island.
  • There was a storm brewing over the entire island chain and we dealt with a lot of rain.
  • But with rain comes rainbows! I saw the best rainbow of my life on our second morning. I hopped off the hotel tram and ran around trying to find the best place for photos. It was the only rainbow we’d see during our entire trip to the rainbow state.
  • Oh, and allow me to back up a moment. Two days before we left for our trip, I got an email from the Waikoloa Marriott saying that they overbooked the hotel and we were shit out of luck. Even though I booked us 9 months in advance. They rebooked us at the neighboring Hilton and picked up the tab for the entire stay, so all was not lost. But let me just say: the Hilton Waikoloa Village is a DUMP. It was so frustrating and infuriating to be booked at such a sub-par hotel — it’s under construction, dirty, tired, and so massive that walking around the property could take hours. I thought maybe I was being a spoiled and overly dramatic traveler, but no — Trip Advisor is full of hilarious reviews ripping the place to shreds.
  • The food on the Big Island was also a disappointment. Basically, the island is trash and I hope I never have to return. How’s THAT for being overly dramatic? ;)
  • We happily departed for Kauai and never looked back.

O’Hare’s beautiful neon tunnel.
Hey, Denny and Jeanne. Not many people around at 4:00am.
SFO. I spent my Valentine’s Day in airports!
After traveling for nearly 12 hours, we arrived at the Kona airport and delighted in the warm weather.
The Hilton looks nice, but trust me, no.
A beach that was not for swimming. Look at all of that black volcanic rock.
The best part of my Big Island experience.
Look how excited I was to see Volcanos NP!
But then this was all we could see. The entrance sign. SO SAD!
So we tried to make lemonade out of lemons — and visited the Mauna Loa factory! It was pretty fun and I love a good tourist trap every now and then. :)
Last night on the Big Island. Peace ouuuuuut.
We spotted Oahu on our way to Kauai.  My photos + thoughts on Kauai will be posted sometime this week. But spoiler alert: it was a magical, stunning, beautiful wonderland.

February flew by. Why? Because I spent 11 days of it in Hawaii! My Hawaii post + photos will be a little delayed because the end of the month snuck up on me… and I’m tired today. But it was a damn good month. Here are my non-vacation photos from this month. Happy March, everyone!

The month of hearts and love. // Mom & I participated in a trivia night to benefit our local school district… it was fun (but we love trivia!)
The collection is getting out of control but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It literally makes me happy to look at all those colorful mugs. Luckily, I really hate the design of the new Starbucks mug collection… so no more mugs (for now!).
Sadie! The ceiling of a townie bar. And my Aloha mat, which taunts me now that I’m back from paradise.
More Sadie. The look I rocked when I had an inflamed cornea (super fun, you guys).
I have reached the age where coffee + going on a drive = the perfect Sunday activity.
We went to Madison and had a lot of fun. My sweetie was happy to stop so I could take my photo with the PINK ELEPHANT! I mean, we’re twinsies!
Everything is so pretty. Even the milk bottles.
UW Alumni park is beautiful — can’t wait to see it in the summer! And we stopped at the Old Fashioned… for Old Fashioneds and dinner.
The day before we left for vacation was Fat Tuesday — I brought treats to the office. And got some last-minute snuggles with Gracie. PS: I love Denny and his magnifying glass.
The best part about any vacation is coming home — and returning to the ones you love.

The end of the month brought the celebration event for our UWay campaign.  And the release of Coco, the best and most beautiful Disney Pixar movie ever! (Thanks to Denny for buying it for me – what a gem!)

Aside from my awesome trip to Disney World at the beginning of the month, January has been pretty lackluster. It feels like it should be January 74th, not 31st… does anyone else feel this way?!

When I got back from Florida (my parents extended onto Boca Grande), I was faced with ALL THREE DOGS picking up a stomach bug at the kennel. Do you know how fun it is to take care of ALL THREE DOGS when they are vomiting and poo’ing? Multiple visits to the vet, many ruined beach towels, and countless hours of lost sleep later… they are all back to normal. #BLESS

The rest of the month has been delightfully uneventful. So much so that all I really have to show for it are a lot of Sadie photos! February will bring more excitement – a family vacation to HAWAII! Can’t wait.

We celebrated Paul’s birthday at our last UWay meeting. And the porgs are the best part of the new Star Wars movie!
I loved my jawbreaker nails. I always like to do fun things while I’m on vacation, because certain looks just don’t work in my conservative profession. For example, I’m going to rose gold my hair in Hawaii! Don’t worry ma and pa, it only lasts 2 washes :)
Gracie was the first pup to get THE SICKNESS.
I love our new local newspaper. And Christmas is out in my house, Valentine’s Day is in.
Adventures in Dating continues – he’s a good egg. Sadie continues to cling. And my non-fiction collection continues to grow.
Fog is awesome.
Gracie’s feeling better and Sadie was not feelin’ my snuggles. And delicious breakfast with Auntie Ra!
Vote on April 3rd! And, as I told you, the parade of Sadie photos continues.
The entire internet made those cookies — and the entire internet knows what’s up. They. Are. Amazing. Chocolate chunk shortbread cookies. Ahhhh yes. Additionally, I had to get Sadie new copper-colored dishes at Target cause she’s faaaaaancy. PS: wouldn’t it be cool if rainbow hair could be a thing?
MORE SADIE! See, I told you I didn’t do anything exciting this month. Oh, but I did go the reveal event for OSK’s new headquarters — phenomenal.

I’ll be back next month with more exciting things… like beaches and palm trees!