I Think It’s Safe to Say That Sassafras is Not My Favorite Restaurant

sassafras

Almost two weekends ago, my family and I ventured to Golden, Colorado which is about 30 minutes from where I live. My dad had been to this one breakfast, lunch, and brunch place called Sassafras awhile ago and he wanted us to try it. Before we left, I looked at the menu and the food seemed good enough. There was a good variety of breakfast and lunch options. It seemed unique compared to a lot of restaurants too in that there were items like jambalaya pasta and BBQ mac n’ cheese. For those of you who don’t know, Sassafras is a Southern-style restaurant that claims to make all of their food from scratch and with locally-sourced, organic food products. Have I got a story for you about my adventure there!

We arrived in Golden around noon and it was a little gloomy and kinda chilly that day. On the car ride over, I noticed that I couldn’t see properly out of my left eye and everything looked dark and blurry on that side. Grrrreat, I’m getting a migraine. My family and I were all pretty hungry about now and so we found our way to Sassafras and they told us there was an hour long wait. We were already so hungry and we were gonna have to wait around some more?!

Oh well, we decided to spend that time walking around Golden. It was honestly kind of fun wandering through some of the tourist shops. Being a Colorado native, it was funny and entertaining to look through all the Colorado merchandise. About halfway through our hour wait, I started to feel nauseous and my headache was definitely getting worse. My family and I walked back to our car and I tried to lie down and take a nap. Meanwhile, my sister and dad went down past the car a little to check out an outdoor museum with a nearby creek. That picture above is actually one of Allyson’s! Finally our hour wait was up and we headed back to Sassafras. I was not feeling good at all at this point. Even the smell of food made me feel extremely sick.

We were seated and our waitress arrived. She was kind of odd and not very welcoming or friendly. I originally ordered orange juice but she didn’t even bring me that. We were all given warm water in mason jars that smelled dirty and that didn’t help my case one bit. When my family ordered appetizers (beignets as well as biscuits and gravy) they took forever to arrive. I didn’t eat any because I was sure to release it all back on the table but according to my parents and sister, I didn’t miss much. The beignets weren’t filled in the center like they typically are and they were covered in a mountain of powdered sugar. According to my sister, they tasted like funnel cake. Really expensive funnel cake. As far as the biscuits and gravy went, they weren’t much better. The gravy appeared to be a mushy, gross mess that drowned the biscuits. I’m honestly glad I wasn’t feeling well enough to eat any of the appetizers. When it came time to order our meals, I ordered their chicken gumbo, my sister ordered their jambalaya pasta, my mom got the BBQ mac n’ cheese, and my dad got some form of eggs Benedict. Once again the food took forever to arrive. When it did come, we all had a very difficult time eating. I maybe took three spoonfuls of jumbo and then decided I couldn’t eat anymore. My sister maybe ate half of her meal and my mom barely touched her’s. My dad somehow managed to get through his entire meal.

In the end, the food’s price did not match up to its quality, the service was poor, and my family and I will not be returning to a Sassafras anytime soon. On the way home, I was not doing so hot. We’ll just say that about halfway through the ride I already had an empty stomach again… Sorry Mom! I was feeling a lot better after we got home and had the chance to calm down my upset stomach. Naps do amazing things!

If you’re looking for a fun and different place to get breakfast, lunch, or brunch, I do not recommend Sassafras. The waits are too long and the price just isn’t worth it. Instead maybe check out The Early Bird in Greenwood Village or Westminster. To those of you who have been to Sassafras and enjoyed the food or had a good experience, I’m very happy for you and feel disappointed to have missed out. Maybe it was just a rough day for our waitress or the restaurant in general! I guess I’ll never know.

While I wrap up this post, I have one request of you all. One of my sweet little dogs, Marty is going in for dental surgery this week and is going to lose an estimated 16 teeth. The periodontal disease in his mouth has progressed rapidly over the past couple of years and he hasn’t been feeling very good lately. We’re hoping this will help him feel a lot better and ensure that he lives the full, happy life he’s intended to live. If you could all just keep Marty in your prayers this week, my family and I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much and have a great week everyone. 🙂

 

 

I Loved My Childhood

Childhood. Oh wow were those the years. My sister and I had a wonderful childhood and looking back on it, I wish that the kids of today had the chance to experience what my sister and I had the chance to live through. From playing outside to movies to toys and also games, I really enjoyed my childhood. Family, of course, made life great too. We spent a lot of time in Farmington, New Mexico with my grandparents and aunt and uncle on my dad’s side. Several of my favorite memories from Farmington include hunting for grasshoppers in my grandparents’ backyard, writing letters to Santa with my aunt, and having tea parties with my grandma. My sister and I grew up without cable TV and so any time we went to our grandparents’ house, we loaded up on our Disney Channel shows, Spongebob, and Animal Planet shows.

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When Allyson and I had the chance to watch cable TV, like at our grandparents’ house, we caught up on shows like Phineas and FerbHannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven, Kim Possible, Sonny With a Chance, Shake it Up, Good Luck Charlie, Spongebob (duh), The Replacements, The Powerpuff Girls, Chip and Dale: Rescue RangersTotally Spies, Fairly Odd Parents, Codename: Kids Next Door, and The Magic School Bus. There’s a lot of shows and that’s probably still not all of them! Off of our good old satellite TV at home, Allyson and I had access to PBS which gave us great shows like Dragon Tales, Clifford, Martha Speaks, Word Girl, Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, Cyberchase, and Arthur. It’s kind of disappointing to see where Disney Channel has gone. The shows just aren’t as good as they used to be! I feel like once Sonny With a Chance (starring Demi Lovato) ended, Disney Channel took a turn for the worst. I also really liked it when the actors would draw out the Disney logo with their magic glowing wands. That was something I always wanted to do as a kid!

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As far as movies go, I remember going to theaters to see the first Incredibles movie and also Finding Nemo. When Cars came out, my aunt and uncle took me and that was a really fun movie too. Honestly, going to see most Disney movies in theaters is fun. I truly feel honored to have been a kid at the time of the Wizards of Waverly Place movie, Princess Protection Program, Lemonade Mouth, Camp Rock and its second movie, The Hannah Montana Movie, the High School Musical movies,  The Cheetah Girls (Dorinda was my favorite), Princess Diaries, and so many more. I also enjoyed all of the Disney princesses and their movies, Mary Poppins, Robin Hood, The Fox and the Hound, The Aristocats, Tarzan, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Island, Fantasia, and Peter Pan. Aside from Disney, I also loved several movies including: Thumbelina, Anastasia (after all that is my name!), the Bratz movies, and all of the Barbie movies. Yes, I absolutely LOVED Barbie. From The Princess and the Pauper to Swan Lake to Magic of the Pegasus and Barbie and the Diamond Castle I was all in. One year for Halloween, Allyson and I dressed up as Anneliese and Erika and that was pretty great. Kind of like Disney, it’s been sad to see the path the Barbie movies have gone. The animation is very different and the movies are all too flashy and artificial to me. It is what it is though, and I’m glad I got to see the movies I did.

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Anneliese and Erika from Princess and the Pauper. This was definitely my favorite Barbie movie as a child. 🙂

Moving on from that block of a paragraph, I also remember having a blast with a variety of toys like Polly Pockets, Bratz, Zhu Zhu pets, Barbies, Webkinz, Littlest Pet Shop, Liv dolls, and frogs. Yes, frogs. You might ask, “What do you mean by that?” No worries, I got this. There’s a way you can fold index cards to make origami frogs. My sister and I made an actual village of these frogs. They all had names and some had kids and we had a very particular way of naming them and getting them married. We were weird about our frogs. Oh boy. Liv Dolls were a brand of dolls that you could take the hair off and give them new hair and they were really pretty but very short lived. I think there were five of them named Sophia, Alexis, Katie, Daniela, and Hayden. They all had really pretty eyes and were really flexible dolls. It was disappointing when they stopped producing stuff for them.

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I honestly think I can say that I lived through the golden age of Webkinz. That was back in the days when there weren’t deluxe memberships and all the stupid, colorful, and flashy plushies. I was a big Webkinz fan and I think I had about 80 of them. They all had beautiful rooms and I was SO dedicated to my Webkinz. I’ll never forget that Christmas when I got my first Webkinz, a chocolate lab, named Choco. Yes, I know I spelled it wrong but that’s how I spelled it as a seven-year old. I’m pretty sure I still have most of them in my basement too… Haha. On the topic Webkinz, which had the virtual pet world, I was reminded of Club Penguin. Club Penguin was a magical virtual world where you were a penguin and you could chat with others in real time and enjoy life as a penguin. Several times, my parents bought me the membership and that was when Courtney98 (my penguin) lived her best life. She had the best igloo and puffles (those were her pets) and cutest clothes. She was also a secret agent and tour guide for the island. Not too long ago, Club Penguin shut down for good and being the dork I am, I actually went back to Club Penguin to say goodbye to Courtney98 and a big part of my childhood. On that day we finally tipped the iceberg and it was great. If you played Club Penguin, you’ll know what I mean about the iceberg. 🙂 Another website I loved spending time on was Pixie Hollow. You could make your own fairy and have her travel around the world of Tinker Bell and that was pretty great too. Thinking about computer games, my sister and I also played games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Zoombinis, Bella Sara, Poptropica, and on the Build-A-Bear website. Once again Barbie had a great website with good games, Girls Go Games was pretty great, and also the American Girl Doll website was a lot of fun. There was also this fun but really weird math game we played that involved monkeys and this group of kids trying to stop Mathra and bring back the goo. Hopefully, some of you have played this and know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, we never finished the game because the disk had issues.

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In addition to all of this, my sister and I spent soooo much time outside. We played pretend with our friends in my backyard or in the cul-de-sac I live in and it was a great time. We spent hours on end outside and I wouldn’t trade any amount of social media followers or power-ups in some silly game for that. We also played a variety of board games that kept us occupied that were very, very fun. There was this one Disney princess game that helped you get ready for a ball that was really fun. I always loved playing that and really any game involving princesses. I honestly feel like many of today’s little kids are occupied by their iPads and virtual game worlds. They’re focused more on making their game character successful and happy than actually enjoying the real world. Some middle school kids, I feel, are even more worried about being cool and technology than spending time in the real world, enjoying Mother Nature. I’m getting a little off topic here, but I just feel like kids need to spend more time being kids nowadays. They need to put down the iPad, get away from the TV, and enjoy childhood, just like I did.

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Back on topic now! Not only did we play outside a lot, but we enjoyed reading a lot. The summer reading program at my local library was one of my favorite things to do. I loved the Wishbone series, Junie B. Jones, the Boxcar Children, some Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, Magic Tree House, Emily Windsnap, The Lightning Thief series, and the Twilight saga. I know I read many more books than what I’ve listed here and I think my love for reading then is what has allowed me to be the bookworm I am today. Books are great. 🙂

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Finally, I’d like to talk about the music I listened to. As a kid, it was all about the Jonas brothers, the good version of Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, the Cheetah Girls, Jesse McCartney, David Archuleta, and several other amazing artists and singers. Radio Disney was where the good music was at. I remember being in the car with my parents and any time 1690 AM wasn’t on, I would ask for it to be. Taylor Swift was really good at that time too. Some of her music today is alright, but it’s just not what it used to be, in my opinion. I loved her work as a country artist and even in her early pop years, but now, no thanks. Vanessa Hudgens also came out with some really good music and there were several other people and groups that my sister and I really liked, like Ashley Tisdale, the Black Eyed Peas, Katy, Cher Lloyd, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Shakira. I really loved Shakira when I was younger, and I still do! According to my mom, I did a really good Shakira impression!

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Well after all that writing, I hope you’re still reading! This was a fun trip down memory lane. I hope you all enjoyed it and for some of you, I hope this was a trip down memory lane as well! I’m really glad that I grew up in a world without as much technology as some of today’s young children. They’re missing out on all the fun! I remember when iPods came out for the first time. That was pretty cool.  And now see where we are today! It’s crazy what technology has done for us and allowed for humankind to do. I hope you all have a good week! Thanks for reading! 🙂

 

Here’s to Another Year of Blogging!

Wow it’s already July! Summer has flown by. I also realized that after a crazy June and my big chunk of Hawaii posts, I totally forgot about my blogiversary which was in early June. This post actually marks my 201st post too!

I just wanted to thank you all for reading my blog and taking time out of your day to visit my website. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed the content because I’ve enjoyed putting in the work to make it all happen! I feel that I’ve come a long way as a writer and person. It’s crazy to also think that I started this blog as a rising high school freshman. At that time, this blog was a good way for me to do something since I was trapped in that stupid boot. At that time, I was dealing with a sesamoid fracture and I feel like I was really struggling. I honestly wasn’t excited about going to a totally new school that was HUGE compared to the small charter school I had been at my entire life.

As high school progressed, I wrote more and learned more, and this blog became such a big part of who I am. I love writing and thinking of fun things to post. I love coming up with ways to keep my website looking clean and professional and reflective of my personality. Sometimes I struggle to get posts up on time but I work extremely hard to make sure I get content up as soon as I can. I plan to continue this blog as my journey in college begins and I’m excited to see where this takes me!yay for the blog

The Last Two Days of My Hawaiian Trip

I hope you all have been enjoying these posts about my trip to Oahu. Sorry if there hasn’t been a lot of variety the past month and a halfish, I just didn’t want my posts about Hawaii to basically be novels. Some of them still are, but that’s fine. Anyway. Onto the last two days in Hawaii!

June 1st was the day we went out to Pearl Harbor. We originally wanted to go out to the USS Arizona Memorial but unfortunately, it was closed, and I think it’s still closed due to structural issues. Despite this, we got a tour of the harbor which was still very, very cool. And even before that, there was a 20 minute movie on Pearl Harbor and the day it was attacked. Before my visit to the harbor, I learned about the tragedy on December 7, 1941, but actually being there taught me so much more. It was extremely powerful and uplifting and patriotic to be at Pearl Harbor. It was fascinating but also horrifying to learn about how the Japanese planned their attack on Pearl Harbor and then attacked. It was also saddening to learn about all of the lives lost that day. While we were on the boat tour, our guide told us oil still leaks from the USS Arizona which lies directly below its memorial. pearl harborShe then told us that some say the oil is the ship’s own “black tears” and that the ship will continue crying until the last of the USS Arizona’s men and survivors pass away. I thought that comment itself was extremely powerful and shows the impact that the attack on Pearl Harbor had on the United States. Please visit Pearl Harbor if you ever go to Oahu. Just do it.

After our visit to the harbor, the rest of the day was pretty chill. We finished up the day with some shopping in the area surrounding the Hilton Hawaiian Village, another walk along the beach, a successful hunt for seashells, and the Friday night fireworks put on by Hilton. hawaiiFun fact about seashells: You can take seashells and other non-living or broken off pieces of coral from the Hawaiian islands and that’s all you can take. If you take sand, that’s considered disrespectful to the motherland and some people have even sent sand back to Hawaii because they’ve experienced bad luck after taking sand. It was so sad that our trip was coming to a close!

On our last day on Oahu, my aunt and uncle took me to this cute little breakfast and lunch place called Eggs N’ Things. They had the most amazing chocolate chip pancakes. And to top off those pancakes they had this really good coconut syrup. Mmmmmmm. That was a good last breakfast in Hawaii. After filling our bellies, we went to the ABC Store one last time, walked along the beach again, and then were off to the airport. My trip to Oahu was the most magical, amazing, and wonderful trip ever. I had the best time with my aunt and uncle and I’m so thankful to them for all we did. Oahu, I intend to be back. Not sure when, but I know I’ll be coming back. Still writing about this trip now makes me miss it and also reflect on all the fun I had. I find myself looking at the pictures I took and watching the videos I recorded A LOT. Something I also loved about Hawaii was how my allergies and asthma were practically non-existent. Being in such a humid and wonderful place did wonderful things for my body. I also felt like I had so much more energy and stamina and I could just go and go forever! What a great time. 🙂 Like I said, I’ll be back Hawaii! Have a wonderful week everyone. Aloha Oahu!

 

Stories about Snorkeling

I originally thought about calling this blog Snorkel Sunday, but I decided that wouldn’t really make sense because I snorkeled on a Thursday, so that’s that. On to the actual blog now!

My aunt and uncle found a place on Oahu that rents out snorkel equipment and a great tour place that offers snorkel tours. The place we got our gear from was called Snorkel Bob’s and they were great at making sure our fins, goggles, and actual snorkel were of good quality and that we felt comfortable. I highly recommend them if you’re ever wanting to snorkel and don’t have your own stuff. You can rent stuff from them for a day and I believe up to a week. The company that we got our dolphin snorkel tour through was Eō Wai’anae Tours and they had a little shuttle that took us to and from the place we snorkeled, which was on the west side of the island. snorkelingOnce we got with our group and on our boat, our guides handed us our life jackets which looked more like large floating bananas and then drove the boat out quite a way and located a dolphin pod. They told us to get all of our gear on, put anti-fog in our goggles, and basically threw us into the ocean. Just kidding, we all lined up and jumped off the boat in groups of two. When I first hit the water, I thought I was drowning. I seriously thought it was the end of the road for me. I was maybe a foot below the surface and then I did surface, my breathing slowed and I was ok for the rest of the trip. Two of our guides were out with us in the water and if they ever saw something in the water, they told us and we all did our best to swim that way and see. While we were in the water, one of the guides told us that the dolphin pod was moving around and I put my face down in the water. Maybe three feet from me, there was a dolphin! It was so cute! He was a little far from the rest of his buddies but he stared at me, clicked, and then swam off. It was the cutest thing to see. The rest of his pod was swimming below and I remember watching one of the dolphins twirling and just having a good time. That was a very special encounter. After spending some time around the dolphins, we swam back to the boat and were off to our next location. In the next spot, we saw some turtles and other pretty little fish. It was cool to watch the turtles surface for air and then swim back down and live their lives. One of our guides was a marine biologist from Australia and she had such a cool accent! snorkelingWhile we were in the water here, she handed me some food and let me feed the fish! It was a really weird feeling to be surrounded by fish like that but it was another fun experience. After several more minutes out with the turtles and other fish, our snorkeling time was done and it was back to the boat for lunch and time at this beautiful bay, our last stop. Once we arrived, we were treated to a burgers and chip lunch and orange guava juice. The guides also put out a paddleboard, kayak, and let people jump off the top of the boat too! I definitely did not jump off the top of the boat, but my uncle and I tried our hands at kayaking which turned out to be a lot more tiring than I thought it would be. It was still very fun though. Snorkeling is another activity I would love to do again. I loved the feeling of the waves while I swam against them and I felt so happy watching all the fish and dolphins and turtles live their lives. The ocean floor was about 30-40 ft. below us and that was also pretty cool to think about too. The ocean is truly amazing.

In general I really enjoyed my snorkelling adventure even though I was genuinely concerned for my life at the beginning. Once I got used to how to breathe and swim around in my flippers, snorkelling was easy peasy. Something I really appreciated about the company that we went through was that they didn’t attempt to lure in the dolphins or turtles or truly any of the creatures. Our guides encouraged us to give the sea creatures their space unless they approached us. I felt like our guides truly knew what they were doing too which made me more confident and safe the entire trip.

Shortly after our snorkeling extravaganza, we headed back to Waikiki Beach for a submarine trip with Atlantis Submarines. For the submarine trip, we were on the larger of the company’s two submarines which can seat over 60 people. Everyone got their own seat and window on the submarine which adds to the experience. Being on a submarine was completely different from what I thought it was going to be. I thought I would feel the pressure and feel claustrophobic but I really didn’t feel either. I was thinking there would be more color than there was but once you get far down enough, everything is blue. Most of the fish and other sea creatures we saw appeared blue or silvery and if they were fish with another color, those colors appeared very dull or dark. While under the sea, we also saw another dolphin and turtle. Oh what a day! The farthest down we got was 112 ft. I honestly don’t know how many people can say they’ve done that! Atlantis submarineSubmarines built several different artificial reefs with a small plane, ship, and other materials to attract fish and other ocean creatures. It was very cool to see the different fish interact and do their own things. Overall, the submarine trip was fun, but I would not do it again or necessarily recommend it to you all. Seeing life under the sea was cool but it was hard to listen to our guide or truly enjoy what was going on because there were so many obnoxious children screaming and hollering about the fish and the toys they wanted. Ugh. I would’ve definitely enjoyed the submarine more if it weren’t for those kids and for everyone out that with kids under like 6 or 7, I beg of you to save yourself and NOT take your children on a submarine like this. People will thank you for that.

Our day playing with water ended with a delicious and unforgettable dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Oh my goodness, I’ve never had a better steak or mashed potatoes. Ruth’s Chris is more on the pricey side but oh boy is it worth it. They also had an amazing bread pudding that’s more like a muffin or cake than an actual bread pudding. So good! I really enjoyed spending time with my aunt and uncle that day, and eating at a restaurant like Ruth’s Chris was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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Wowza that was a long post. I hope you’re all still awake or reading at this point. Next week will sadly be my last post on my Hawaii trip. 🙁 It’ll be ending on a good note though! I’m talking about Pearl Harbor about some really good pancakes next Sunday. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. Have a good one! 🙂

Curling Into Coconuts at Kualoa Ranch

Coconut day! I mean ziplining day! There’s this really cool ranch that’s more on the north shore of Oahu called Kualoa Ranch. At Kualoa Ranch there have been a multitude of great movies and TV shows filmed which is super cool. I even got to see sets for the new Jurassic World movie! In addition to that, they’ve got ziplining, horseback riding, ATV tours, and so many other fun activities to do. Kualoa Ranch is definitely a fun and beautiful place to visit if you’re ever on Oahu.

I think we arrived at least 30-45 minutes before our scheduled ziplining tour just to get settled in before our bus took us up to zipline base camp. kualoa ranchWhile we waited we played with the horses, watched a little documentary on Kualoa Ranch, enjoyed seeing the chickens everywhere (ok, maybe that was just me) and relaxed. Funny story now. There was this newly-wed Korean couple that came over to the horses while I was with them and the husband really wanted a picture of his wife near the horses. She got fairly close but you could tell she was afraid of the horse and then the horse made a little noise and she jumped and screamed. I felt kind of bad for her but it was still really funny because here I was, almost face to face with this one horse. After filling out some waivers and other forms, it was finally go time! We hopped on this little bus that had no windows and made our way up to base camp. At base camp, we were given a safety briefing and fitted into our harnesses and helmets. We had three wonderful guides who were extremely experienced and educated on ziplining. The girls we had made our trip very fun and I felt very safe the entire time. Finally it was zipline time! In the valley where we ziplined, there were 14 lines, I believe, and two suspension bridges. There were also a couple of short hikes in between lines but it wasn’t anything impossible to do. My aunt, uncle, and I were with a group of six others which was nice because it kept things close and a lot less overwhelming. Remember that Korean couple from earlier? Yes! They were in our group too! We were first introduced to ziplining on a 100 ft. line and then as we went, the lines got longer and faster and more fun. kualoa ranchEach line was named after a native plant that was being grown in the area or just had a certain meaning that was special to our surroundings. I feel like that made me much more aware of just how beautiful the land around me was. At some of the lines, there were photo opportunities and it was pretty fun to strike a pose and be silly while practically flying through the jungle. There were even a few games we got to do as we ziplined. At one of the stations, we made bets for who would make it to the other end first and at another, we tried to throw kuikui nuts into a bucket below the lines which was super difficult, might I add. When we got to the longest line, in order to make it all the way, our guides told us to curl into coconuts (display title and roll credits, haha). This way we would make it all the way and hopefully not have to be rescued on the line. I almost made it the entire way. I got stuck just before the rope our guides were using to pull us in to the platform. Yay for me. When we walked across the suspension bridges, we were hooked to a wire above us and we were allowed to rock, bounce, and sway around as much as we wanted. That made walking across a lot harder but it was SO MUCH FUN! It was honestly sad when our trip came to an end. kualoa ranchThe thrill of spinning around in the air and just flying over the gorgeous landscape was a blast. I didn’t have to worry about braking or getting myself attached to the line and the ladies that guided my group did an amazing job with us. I could definitely see myself ziplining again and I hope if I get the chance to do it again, it’s at Kualoa Ranch. Once our time at the ranch was done, it was around lunch time and we were STARVING. We headed back to Waikiki and had a big lunch to fill our very empty tanks. Ziplining: another great way to make memories, try something new, and have a blast.  I loved it so much! beach timeWe then spent a good amount of time on the beach relaxing, swimming, and also trying out an aquabike! I think we rented one for 30 minutes and then just biked out to sea. There were these two guys that insisted on racing my aunt and I and they got their butts whooped. End of story. 🙂 It was honestly a lot of work to move those pedals around when we were going against the waves. It was a fun little activity though just as something chill and relaxing to do on the beach.

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I hope you all are keeping cool. Ugh, here in Colorado it’s so dry and hot and I’m really not into that type of weather so it’s going great from here, haha. See ya next Sunday for a post about my snorkeling adventure. Have a great week everyone! 🙂

Memorial Day in Hawaii and Iolani Palace

Just a quick note before I get started here. I decided to combine Memorial Day and the day after into this blog post because they go very well together. So bring out that cup of coffee and kick your feet back, because this is gonna be a long one!

So on Memorial Day, we were supposed to go see Iolani Palace, keyword here “supposed”. 15 minutes before our tour, we arrived and the place was empty. My aunt, uncle, and I found out that they were closed for the day in honor of Memorial Day so that scheduled tour we planned probably wasn’t going to happen. Oh well! Iolani PalaceThat gave us an even better idea and so we spent our Memorial Day at Waimea Falls. Before we left though, we got some pictures of the palace and the statue of Kamehameha the Great which was across the street. Waimea Falls is a small waterfall that has a beautiful and easy hike up to it. Along the way, we saw some beautiful flowers and lush green vegetation. There were trees whose arms intertwined with one another and reached out as if they had all the room in the world. The views were breathtaking and all of the plants and trees were just amazing. When we made it to the actual falls we took some pictures (of course, haha) and sat and watched the running water as well as all the people swimming around below the falls. Waimea FallsIf you ever decide to go up to Waimea Falls, bring your swimsuit! You can swim in the falls, but before you do that, you have to check in with the lifeguard and get a life jacket, regardless of how good a swimmer you are. I would suggest going in the mid-morning, so that the crowd will hopefully be smaller and it won’t be as hot. We ran into a little bit of rain while we were up there but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. It actually felt very nice. The rain in Hawaii is more of a mist and it’s very gentle even when it rains more. We spent quite a bit of time hiking around and being at Waimea Falls so if you plan to go there, be prepared for a longer stay. 🙂

The next day, we were fortunate enough to get our tour for Iolani Palace rescheduled and we got in! What a stunning building the palace is and inside is even more beautiful. Iolani Palace is the only official royal building in the United States, fun fact. It was built by King Kalakaua during his reign from 1874 to 1891. From what I remember, he was the last king of Hawaii. His sister, Liliuokalani would be the last ruler of Hawaii before the monarchy was overthrown and Hawaii annexed. iolani palaceThey make you wear covers over your shoes to protect and preserve the floor which is kinda fun. Wow I’m a dork, haha. At Iolani Palace we learned more about the Hawaiian royal line and specifically Hawaii’s last rulers. The story of the monarchy’s overthrow was quite sad honestly, but it was very interesting to learn more about. The palace was GIANT and it was cool to learn how innovative and tech-savvy, for lack of better words, King Kalakaua was. He had electricity and running water in Iolani Palace before most buildings on the US mainland! The music room, which is on the second floor of the palace was my favorite room. It contained King Kalakaua’s music box and the room itself was just beautifully decorated. I also really enjoyed the Blue Room, simply because the furniture’s cushioning was all a deep, royal blue that was just stunning. And the throne room. Oh. My. Goodness. It was gorgeous! throne roomThe red throughout the room was stunning and the thrones themselves were stunning. I can only imagine what Iolani Palace would’ve been like at the time of King Kalakaua. The throne room was really cool to in that there were recreations of several of Queen Liliokalani’s gowns. She had one with ostrich feathers in there and one embellished with peacock feathers. They were beautiful. I highly recommend visiting Iolani Palace. We had a wonderful tour guide who told us so much about the royal family and the palace itself. Feeling like royalty for a few hours was pretty cool. 🙂 And just when you thought this day couldn’t get more exciting, we had parasailing shortly after! Woohoo! My aunt and uncle used this company, Hawaiian Parasail. They have a very good record and are well-known for their safety, which I’d say is pretty important if you’re going to be 1000 feet in the air! While my stomach did not appreciate the choppy waves and how they rocked our small boat around, it did just great as my uncle and I soared above Oahu. I hope I never forget the feeling of parasailing. You can hear the wind rushing and it moves you around a little and the view is just something else. I could almost describe parasailing as being on a swing in the sky but I still feel like that doesn’t quite describe it. It was so fun though! I wanna say that my uncle and I were in the air for about 7 minutes and then on the way back to the boat, the guys dunked us in the ocean. Yay saltwater! I’m sooooo glad I wore my swimsuit for that. And after parasailing, it was time for our luau. paradise coveWe went to Paradise Cove which is on the west side of the island. I’ve never been to a luau, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but let me just say I was not let down. We were greeted with orchid and kuikui nut leis and then ushered in to our tables. There were several activities before the actual show began which including watching coconuts be husked, cooking the pig, watching people climb palm trees, and a shower of plumeria flowers. Finally it was time to eat and we were treated to a three course meal. There was a delicious salad plate followed by the main meal which had several different types of meat and then finally dessert! Dessert was a delicious chocolate and pineapple cake with coconut icing. There was also this interesting gelatiny dessert that tasted like coconut. When the main dish came around was when the show started. And oh what a show it was! The singers were extremely talented and so were the dancers. The girls were all beautiful and the guys were all pretty good-looking too. Especially the fire dancer, oh my goodness his eyes were pretty! Anyway, the show was wonderful and I absolutely love the sound of the music there. It’s totally unique and different from anything I’ve ever heard and I love it! paradise coveParadise Cove was a great luau with great service and an even greater view. The sunset that night was gorgeous to and it was a great way to end that day. I think that my aunt and uncle ordered one of the more expensive packages and that’s what allowed us to have the lei greeting and stageside seats. As mentioned it’s more expensive, but I’d say it’s worth it. What a fun couple of days that was.

Next week I’m talking about my ziplining experience so I hope you’ll be around to hear about that. Have a good week everyone! 🙂

 

 

 

History Day in Oahu

Day three of my Hawaiian trip turned out to be one of the most helpful, interesting, and insightful days of my trip to Oahu. On Sunday’s agenda, we had Bishop Museum, Queen Emma’s, and also Pali Point. Here’s how my history-filled May 27th in Hawaii was!

We were up bright and early to be the first people at Bishop Museum. Bishop MuseumWe just wanted to avoid a crowd, plus with so many more things to do during the day, we wanted to ensure we had plenty of time to do everything! At Bishop Museum, we learned about the first Hawaiians, their royal family and Hawaiian culture. I loved reading more about the royal family and all of their crazy connections and contributions to the islands. One of the more interesting things they had on display were these giant hair necklaces. Members of the royal family typically possessed these thick necklaces of finely braided hair that belonged to their ancestors. Honestly, kind of gross but still very interesting! Bishop Museum was pretty cool, but honestly it’s not a place I would recommend. I just found myself bored there pretty quick. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, it just wasn’t my favorite. There was a lot of stuff to read and I’m more of an interactive person so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking into museums on Oahu. Bishop Museum did help make being at Queen Emma’s much easier though, because I knew the backstory of Queen Emma and her husband, King Kamehameha IV and just a little bit more about Hawaiian history. In Honolulu, Queen Emma had a small summer home, and we had the chance to tour it. Queen Emma'sQueen Emma was raised by a doctor and his wife and grew up wanting to take care of people. She eventually married her husband, making her the queen of Hawaii. They had a son together, Prince Albert, and he unfortunately died when he was about four years old. 🙁 During her reign, Queen Emma and her husband created the Queen’s Hospital, which I believe offered free healthcare to native Hawaiians and made good connections with Queen Victoria back in England. Queen EmmaQueen Emma was an extremely talented, inspiring, hard-working, and genuine soul and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to learn more about her life story. And to wrap up our day of history, we visited Pali Point. Pali Point is this point on of the mountains on Oahu where the first king of Hawaii, King Kamehameha the Great and his troops forced opposing forces to either jump off or be forced off. At the time of his rule, King Kamehameha was working to unite the eight islands of Hawaii and this was the final push for that. He was successful and there is a beautiful statue of him across the street from Iolani Palace if you want to go check it out! After a rainy and windy visit up to Pali’s Point it was time for lunch so we headed back to the hotel and grabbed some food. ABC StoresOne thing I’m finally starting to pick up on is how many ABC Stores there are here! Holy cow! ABC Stores are basically like 7/11’s and other little convenience stores and they’re actually on every block. ABC Stores are extremely convenient though, as they have just about anything a tourist could need ranging from food to beach towels and even coffee mugs.

It’s really weird still writing about Hawaii even though I’ve been back for a week now. Wow do I miss island life! I hope you all are enjoying the summer heat! Have a beautiful week you beautiful people and stay tuned for next week’s post about Memorial Day!

 

A Diamond Head Kind of Day

Honolulu at Night

You’ve all waited a week for this and here’s day two of my Hawaiian adventure! We started Saturday morning off bright and early, since we were still on our clocks back home to hike Diamond Head. For those of you who don’t know, Diamond Head is the crater of a former volcano. The hike was kind of challenging, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Except for the stairs. Oof, there’s one way you can hike which consists mostly of stairs, and that just seemed awful, so I recommend taking the other path if you ever decide to visit Oahu. DiamondheadThe view from the top and also on the way up was stunning and quite peaceful, considering the masses of people that had also joined us to hike that morning. Next on our agenda was Hanama Bay and the blowhole. Hanama BayWe drove up to a scenic stop to see Hanama Bay from above and I’ve never seen bluer water in all my life. Wow was it beautiful. If you’re looking for a good, safe place to snorkel, I heard that Hanama Bay is the place to be. the blowholeThe Halona Blowhole, which isn’t too far down from Hanama Bay, is a spot where water sprays from this hole in the rocks and the views there are stunning as well. Watching the waves crash on the rocks and just looking out at the gorgeous, blue water made me so happy. Traveling out to these spots is definitely a longer drive from Honolulu so if you plan to visit, be prepared for a long car trip. To add on to this already amazing day, we saw even more beautiful sights at the Byodo-In Temple. Byodo-In TempleThis place was my favorite by far. The Byodo-In Temple is a replica of a temple built in Japan and the atmosphere and beauty of this place was just surreal. The overall vibe there was peaceful and serene and it was so wonderful. We had a chance to walk around the gardens and ponds there and also head into the temple. There we lit some incense and viewed the massive Buddha statue. Being in the temple was so calming and it’s a feeling I never want to forget. Unfortunately, we had to leave the Byodo-In Temple at some point, and we did. Now it was time for some Dole Whip. Yay! There was another somewhat long drive ahead of us and then we arrived at Dole Plantation. We were on a mission and our mission was accomplished when we sat down at our table and snacked on Dole Whip. Dole WhipThere really is no way to describe how delicious or refreshing Dole Whip is. If you haven’t ever had it, please do at some point. I had an idea of what it would taste like, since I had some at Disneyland when I was there two years ago, but Hawaii didn’t fail to disappoint. There were little chunks of pineapple in the Dole Whip which made it even better. I also got to see how pineapples grow, which is not at all what I expected. They grow from the ground and when farmers want to plant pineapple, they cut it in half horizontally and stick one of the halves back in the ground and voila, more pineapple! Dole Plantation offers tours of the fields and has a train ride around the whole place, which we didn’t do, but if you’ve got kids and are looking for something fun to do, this might just be it!

See you all next week where I talk about my history day in Hawaii. Have a beautiful week you beautiful people! 🙂 Aloha!

 

 

Aloha Oahu

Image result for map of hawaii pretty

As of today, I have been in Hawaii for three magical days and before I get going on what I’ve been up to, let me clarify a few things. No, I am not seeing lava anywhere, that’s on the Big Island. I am on Oahu. Also, continuing on the topic of the volcano, the entire island of Hawaii is NOT covered in lava. It’s just a small portion of the Big Island that is directly affected by the lava. My prayers and thoughts go out to those affected by Kilauea’s eruption and the lava flow. Vog can be seen from Oahu and it’s somewhat hazy here, but other than that it’s perfectly fine here.Aloha Oahu

I left for the Hawaiian islands on May 25th, which was this past Friday. Before leaving for Hawaii we stayed in Arizona for the night. As far as I know there aren’t any direct flights from Denver to Honolulu so yeah… When we left on the 26th, we were welcomed to Honolulu with a traditional lei greeting and then left to get our rental car. Following that, we went to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, which is where we are staying for the next week in the Grand Waikikian and grabbed some lunch. Funny story with that actually. My aunt, uncle, and I ordered our meals and the waitress just kept coming back and saying, “Your meal will be out shortly. I promise.” Yeah, shortly, as in 40 minutes later. She felt really bad and we ended up eating for free there. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but they had really good chicken tacos which was great. After getting settled into our room, it was time to do some grocery shopping. This was where my aunt and uncle introduced me to my new addiction: Maui Sweet Onion chips. Oh, they’re so good! We bought some stuff for sandwiches and a wide variety of fruits and headed back to the hotel. By this time, it was around 6 o’clock Hawaiian time and we were all exhausted because that’s 10 o’clock MST.

We ate a quick dinner, took our first walk along Waikiki Beach and then waited for the firework show to begin. Every Friday night, Hilton does an AMAZING 4-minute firework show on the beach, which is pretty cool. We caught the firework show and once that was done, we crashed. Adjusting to the time difference has been one of the toughest things, but we’re all managing, and I seem to be adjusting quickly.

I’m currently three days into this trip and I know I’m gonna have A LOT to say about it, so I will be posting each day as a blog post, so if you’re all up for it, get ready for a bunch of travel blog posts. Good night from Honolulu!