June 15, 2018

A Late Winter Getaway to Oahu

Anyone who knows me well knows that I loathe winter. I don't like anything about the season. This winter, I found myself questioning why on earth I not only still live in the Northeast but bought a house there! 

Compared with the last two winters, this one was nothing. We had about 5 days of temperatures below 10 degrees as opposed to entire months but it was just too much. When March rolled around and the forecast didn't call for a single nice day, I started going crazy...and then Carolann told me I should come to Hawaii and 10 days later, I was on a plane.


Everyone I know who goes to Hawaii goes to Maui. I've only been to Oahu but I highly recommend it! Hawaii is a long flight from the East Coast and it's nice to land in Honolulu and not have to get on another plane! While I would love to visit Maui someday, I'm perfectly content to keep returning to Oahu as long as Carolann is living there! 

My only agenda for this second trip to Hawaii was to soak up as much sun as possible and revisit the farm cafe. Carolann was more than happy to oblige on both accounts. As soon as I landed and got to her place, we made our way to the beach. I was in heaven. 80 and sunny? This was so much better than 38 and raining.


The flight to Hawaii isn't terrible but the time difference is tough. After roughly 11 hours of flight time, you land in the middle of the afternoon, 6 hours earlier than the time it is back home. I didn't last too long my first day but I was so happy to be on the beach.

The next morning, I was up before the sunrise. Carolann woke up shortly after me and we sat on her lanai drinking coffee with condensed milk and catching up...I was definitely on vacation!


We made a game plan for the day to head up to the North Shore to visit Waimea Falls and the Farm Cafe. We had gone to Waimea Falls when I last went to Oahu and I loved it! Although this time around, the water was ICE cold!


Carolann first introduced me to the Kahuku Farm Cafe shortly after she moved to Hawaii when she sent me a box of goodies including their vanilla bean caramel sauce. This stuff is heaven and it's even better poured over ice cream that's melting on top of grilled banana bread. If you ever go to Oahu, this should be one of the top things on your list. It's a little farm on the side of the road but the food is unbelievable and you can bring home some of their homemade goodies like lilikoi butter, pineapple papaya sauce, and that vanilla bean caramel sauce I'm talking about.


One thing I should tell you about Hawaii is that if you're planning a trip there and eyeing the weather forecast ahead of time, don't be alarmed if all you see is rain. It rained every day that I was in Hawaii but Oahu is a big island with a mountain right in the middle and, as Carolann so accurately pointed out, it's always sunny somewhere on the island! 

In search of the sun, we spent the next day in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach. It was still on the cloudy side but I didn't mind since I could still sit by the beach with a book and indulge in ice cream...which I did on this trip more times than I'm comfortable admitting!


Feeling the need to work off all of the ice cream I'd been eating, Carolann and I were up early the next morning to hike the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail, a steep, but well-paved hike that's prime for whale watching and stunning views! It was a great hike and I loved watching the last of the whales migrating for the season!



After our hike, we brunched at and then whiled away the rain at the local bookstore where I bought so many books, I had to ship them home! (Two months later, they're still in the box on the floor of my dining room because of the saga we've dealt with my home office, but that's a story for another day.).


My last few days in Hawaii were all about beach time...we went back to Waikiki (the Hilton Hawaiian Village is awesome just to walk through!), trekked to Ko Alina (my favorite of the beaches), and made a detour to Disney's Aulani.


This trip was everything I needed to cure my winter blues. While it wasn't quite as warm when I got back to Baltimore, it definitely wasn't snowing anymore! I think a late March vacation may need to be exactly what I need from now on!

Have you been to Hawaii? What did you think? I hope this post adds Oahu to your wanderlist! 

June 8, 2018

Back to Blogging

Wow! I can't believe it's been three months since my last post! This is definitely the longest I've gone without writing and while, my absences from this little blog have become more frequent than I'd like over the last two years, this time around, I think I needed the break.

Today, I'm writing not just to catch up and fill space on this blog but to start an earnest commitment to getting back to blogging. Lately, I've realized that a lot of the pressure I've been putting on myself to work outside the typical 9-5 is self-imposed and I'm desperately trying to scale back and work normal hours so that outside of work, I can do things like run, blog, adventure around Baltimore, and spend time with friends.

The last time I posted, I was in Hawaii and ended up staying there 3 days longer than planned due to flight availability and maybe a little bit of my unwillingness to leave 80 degree Hawaii and head back to 40 degree DC. That trip was so restorative and I'm honestly still living a high from how good that trip was!


Since coming back from Hawaii, we've hosted a lot of friends in Baltimore which has been a great way for me to finally get out and do some exploring around my new city! We've taken a few trips to TX and NJ to visit family, and have only made it to one baseball game (during which it rained the entire time).


The Pilot and I have both been working a lot but we've also been working on our house. Unfortunately, most of the projects we've done around the house have been things we needed to do that popped up on us, instead of things we actually wanted to do which has been really frustrating but, I guess that's homeownership for you!

As I'm making an effort to get back to blogging, here's what you can expect to see from me this month:
  • A recap of my Hawaii trip with some tips for anyone planning a trip to Oahu;
  • An update on how our house is coming along, six months later;
  • A glimpse into what my days look like both when I'm working from home and when I'm commuting to DC'
  • A recipe or two that I've been cooking up in my head; and
  • Our next trip to Europe (location TBD despite the fact that this trip is coming up really soon).
I hope you'll follow along as I get back to writing more in this space and that you'll let me know what else you'd like to see! I've thought a lot over these last few months about this blog and what I keep coming back to is how many ideas I have for it! So, it's time to put those ideas into practice and start sharing all of those ideas. Stay tuned!

April 10, 2018

Coffee Date: April( (in Hawaii!) Edition

Aloha from Hawaii!


Remember me? I started off the year with a bold determination to get back into blogging...and then I let two months go without even trying to write a blog post. It makes me sad because I really do love this space and it's been hard to make it a priority for a long time now.

I wish I could say that this time, I've been away for a good reason - that I have so much to catch up on from all of the wonderful trips I've taken and fabulous things I've done over the last few months, but the truth is, I've been working a lot and I haven't really wanted to leave my house much because this winter has just been brutal.

But I'm exhausted. Until now, I hadn't taken a vacation in 5 months and this endless winter has just really worn me down. So a few weeks ago, I called up my good friend, Carolann, and asked her if I could come visit her in Hawaii, and I came as soon as I could.


Carolann asked me what I wanted to do when I got here and I told her, "absolutely nothing." We've done more than that but there has been a lot of down time and sitting on the beach, which is exactly what I needed. I feel immensely better. I was supposed to get home yesterday but one downside to the perk of being able to travel whenever and wherever is the risk of not getting a seat as a standby passenger. Getting out of Hawaii right now is proving a little bit difficult, so I'm working some immensely early mornings from here until I can get back home. 


Since it's been so long, let's catch up (over a steaming mug of Hawaiian blend with condensed milk, if you want to match my Aloha spirit!).

I turned 31 in February...and said good riddance to 30, the hardest and worst year of my life. The Pilot and I celebrated both of our birthdays, which are 1 week apart, with a road trip to Charlottesville, VA.


I haven't run a single mile in 2018... and its (mostly) been by choice, though the endless winter we're having hasn't made me miss running and I had a few doctors suggest that cutting back on running might be good for me. This isn't by any means a permanent thing and I think I'm going to start running again this month, easing back into it if (and only if) the weather cooperates. I'm over this 40-degree nonsense and I won't run in it in April.

I haven't been reading much lately... unless you count all of the reading I've been doing for work on education systems in West Africa and our current government's practical guarantee of another financial crisis. I haven't just skipped mine and Carolann's monthly link up because I haven't been blogging, I haven't been reading either. It took me almost the entire month to read the last book I read and I've been suffering through a horrendous nonfiction audiobook for 2 months that I can't seem to quit. I didn't even bring any books to Hawaii but luckily, Carolann has plenty for me to borrow! 

The Pilot and I are planning our next trip to Paris. We've gone to Paris every other year since 2012, merely by coincidence but on our third trip there in 2016, we decided to make it a routine. We want to add on to the trip either with some time om the south of France, or going back to Portugal, or seeing somewhere totally new. I have my heart set on Budapest but we'll see. 


I really miss living in DC. The Pilot and I both do. I fully expected this. Neither one of us ever really wanted to leave DC but the city's housing market is pretty inaccessible. I'm glad I still commute to the city a few days a week but I miss living there. I like Baltimore enough but DC is home. I have zero regrets about buying our home or moving to Baltimore and I hope I come to love Baltimore in its own way but I think I'll always miss DC. It's the first city I've lived in after London that I ever truly loved living in.

I wish I had more to say about what I've been up to these last few months but to be honest, I really don't. The Pilot has been flying a lot and I've been working a lot. I really hate cold weather so outside of going to work and walking Peyton, I've spent most of my time hibernating and getting settled into our house, but Hawaii has been so good for me and I'm excited to get home to (hopefully) warmer weather and head into spring with a new perspective!

What have I missed in the blog world lately?
Have you taken any vacations lately? Planning any exciting trips?
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