We took one of the earliest flights out and the best part is the flight was only about 40 minutes. So easy, so fast, got our rental car all within 30 minutes of landing. We took the kids boosters seat with us as a carry on which worked out great. We chose such an early flight to make the most of our day. The Big Island is so much bigger than Oahu so we knew we needed extra time for driving everywhere. We drove along the south shore stopping at South point and Black sand beach on our way up to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Here are some of the spots we checked out.
I must say it was nice to be a tourist and have these areas not be overly crowded. We were able to really experience the beauty of the Island, the people and sights, all on our own terms, which is probably one of the main reasons why we like to visit this Island.
As we made our decent up to the volcanic area, we could start to feel the elevation change, and change in weather. It’s about a 20-degree difference from the coast. Since it’s a national park, you have to pay upon entering, but military was free. We went straight to the hotel, checked in, and dropped off our stuff. We also needed to do an outfit change, put on our sneakers, and grab our jackets.
We stayed at Kilauea Military Camp, great grounds and things to do for service members and retirees. We only had a few more hours of sunlight and wanted to walk the volcanic trail so off we went. We stopped by at the park rangers, and quickly learned that a lot of the trail was closed due to the recent disastrous eruption back in April.
Last stop of the day was driving back down to Ho’lei Sea Arch for sunset. It was such an amazing view and picturesque scene. We had dinner back at the hotel, which also had a game room for the kids! We ended the night relaxing and staying in our room, with the fireplace going. The temperature at this point was about 38 degrees!
We ended our stay at KMC with exploring and walking the grounds of the camp that morning. We then made our way to Kona to finish out the rest of our stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village hotel. We’ve stayed at this hotel a few times before, and I personally think it’s one of the best Hilton’s I’ve ever been to. The hotel includes a monorail, boat taxi, award winning restaurants, waterslide pools, a lagoon, waterfront views, and a dolphin excursion viewing just to name a few.
We headed to Hilo for the morning half of the day to check out the Mauna Loa Macadamia nut factory. Lets just say, it was sample galore, and pretty cool to learn how much and why macadamia nuts cost so much to produce. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Rainbow Falls lookout. The rest of the day was spent relaxing poolside.
We jam packed the first 3 days with sights and activities for the purpose of keeping the last two days to enjoy all the hotel amenities, relax and enjoy each other.
This was a trip to remember, we did a lot, saw a lot, and also relaxed a lot. With the New Year ahead of us, it makes me look back and appreciate my time I have with my family so much. I consider us lucky to be able to make these memories, and take a step back from the monotony of our everyday routine, because sometimes, we need a break, we deserve a break, and need the moments to enjoy all of life’s joys; laughter, love, and smiles all around. Happy New Year!!
This year, my family and I decided to head to the Big Island for our winter vacation. We’ve been there before, so we were familiar and comfortable with our surroundings, but this time we planned a night over in the Volcanic National Park. The Big Island is just as it states, big, and for an island that still has active Volcano’s, the change in altitude comes with a change in weather. My challenge on this trip was to pack for a family of 4, for a 4 night, 5-day trip for both cold and warm weather. I’ve traveled quite a bit, so packing a suitcase is like second nature to me, so here are some of my tips and linked products to make that dreaded luggage bag less stressful.
Traveling with kids is a daunting task, I know! I’ve been traveling with my two alone since they were babies! It’s all a trial and error tactic. We all go through the headaches and frustration as parents, but when you see that other family next to you struggling to juggle all their stuff and their kids, while dealing with crowds and possible meltdowns, you both suddenly glance at each other and give each other that nod as a recognition of ‘I feel ya’, we can all sit back, laugh, and know that you are not alone! J
Coming up: Part 2 will cover our trip itinerary, activities, and hotel stay!
Since we are officially well into Fall, I've been on an Amazon kick lately. It's my one stop shop for everything current to my everyday life, who doesn't love the convenience of that! Linked are some of my all time favorites, as well as some new finds. Happy Fall!
Bentgo Kids Lunchbox: I discovered this bento style lunch box 3 years ago when my son started school. It's got all the right sized compartments for my kids, giving them a variety for lunch/snack choices, making it fun and healthy! Best part is it's microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and leak proof!
Maaji Once Piece Long sleeve swimsuit: This is perfect for the colder weather outings in the water. I don't need that here in Hawaii, but what I do use it for is the waterpark, and boogie boarding surf sessions. It's super comfortable, super cute, but runs small, I'd suggest sizing up from your normal size.
S'well Bottle: I'm a sucker for water bottles, especially ones that keep my drinks cold all day. S'well bottles are both functional and fashionable, I always carry one with me when I go out!
Nixon Watches: This is one of my more recent finds. I love this watch for it's huge face, simplistic but on trend vibe. I got mine in gold, and can dress it up and down; very versatile.
Ellia Gather Aromatherapy Diffuser: I've recently jumped on the essential oils bandwagon after discovering that it has made a difference in my families overall health. After doing a bit of research, I decided on this Ellia one for my kitchen. It can run 10 hours continuously or 20 hrs intermediately. I wanted one that was big enough to fill both my kitchen and living room, which this does. It comes with a remote, soft changing coloring and relaxing sounds. This is the creme de la creme with all the bells and whistles of a diffuser and so far, am quite happy with it.
NOW essential oils: With so many different types/grade of essential oils out there, it's hard to find ones that are good, that also won't break the bank. I've tried this NOW brand and am happy with the results. Eucalyptus is a must! especially during this Flu season!
Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines: This is a great overall book, from the simple and easy recipes. If you're a cookbook junkie, this is a must add, if it hasn't been already. This will also make a great gift during this upcoming Holiday season.
Anker Wireless Charger: This is one of my husbands recent purchases, but threw it in here because it's amazing! If you're like me and notorious for letting your cell phone battery life drain, then this will be your lifesaver! You simply place your phone on top of it, and boom, your phone will charge up! Best part, is it's wireless, so it can move around with you wherever you go!
Sipwell Stainless Steel Straws: With many places now banning straws, I'm not a fan of those paper ones! They disintegrate so fast, and just don't mesh well with me lol. So in comes stainless steel! These are so durable, easy to clean, a last so much longer. I have a few lying around at home, and also in my car for when I want to enjoy a drink while out.
Hard Plastic disposable wine glasses: I recently used these for a wine tasting I hosted, and this was the best thing yet! Everyone was able to enjoy their own glasses, with out having to worry about spilling or breaking a glass anywhere! Best part, is there was no clean up afterwards, just toss and go! This is a great idea for any of those upcoming holiday parties you have planned.
Shop all items below:
Amazon Shop: This Love Life
Australia has been on my bucket list of places to travel, so when my friend from college called me up and asked if I wanted to go for the weekend, yes, just a weekend, I said yes!
Packed our bags, dusted off our passports, got our visa and soon we boarded our 10 hr flight. We had no plans, no agenda, but we both knew we wanted to experience Australia, even if that just meant for a cool 48 hrs.
We woke up early on a Sunday morning and decided to head towards the Sydney Opera house, the most iconic landmark in all of Sydney. In the heart of the Sydney Harbor, we found many picture perfect shots, quaint little cafes and shops, and just a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery. With such limited time we decided to purchase the typical Double decker tourist bus tour. It was perfect for our needs, busing us to all the top destinations providing us with many stops along the way.
Next, while my friend suggested we actually climb to the top of the Sydney bridge (yes I know, a once in a lifetime opportunity) my fear of heights quickly shot down that, and instead, we opted to take an elevator to the highest lookout point in Sydney. We observed the city from the top which was breathtaking and was just enough for me.
For dinner we walked across to Darling Harbor where more shops and eats awaited us. We both tried a local Australian beer, and had my go at some Fish and Chips, which I heard is one of their specialties.
Our second and last day found us out on a Monday morning in the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s city life. The city reminded me much of San Francisco with it’s cool weather breeze and lots of people trying to get to work.
Bondi Beach was our last big destination spot. One of the most famous beach for its pristine clear blue water, soft golden sand, and beautiful surf sets rolling in, its no wonder this beach is a surfers dream with people from around the world visiting. The highlight of the beach for me was the Bondi Icebergs. Featuring a lap pool situated on the edge of the ocean, it was such a cool and unique thing to see. Another thing worth mentioning were all the very hip and cool artwork along the walls.
Our last night found us back at the Sydney harbor for happy hour and fresh oysters. The views were amazing, picture perfect for a spectacular sunset to an amazing city.
My expectations of Australia were definitely fulfilled. It was everything I had hoped for and more. The people were so kind, the architecture and artsy design were modern and unique. The food was AH-Mazing, and my experience there though for only the short period of time, will forever be cherished. I can’t wait to go back and experience more of what the country down under has to offer, because, there is so much more to explore, and this right here is the reason I love to travel, always learning, always exploring. Till next time Australia!
I can’t believe its been one year since moving back to HI. The year has been filled with so many happy moments, many adventures, and sorrow all at the same time. I guess I’ll start with the biggest question everyone probably has, why I haven’t been posting on the blog in the past 3 months.
I needed a break. Life got in the way. I was too busy. I wasn’t inspired. All of the above. Really there’s no ONE reason why I stopped, I just did. While I felt guilty and sad that I wasn’t posting regularly, the truth is I needed it. I needed a time out to be selfish, to deal with things going on around my life, and I wasn’t willing to just put content out there that I didn’t feel was genuine.
So, what do I make of my first year back in HI? Different. While the move back to my hometown wasn’t so foreign, it still is a different experience, especially returning back with a family of my own. I love how I’m able to say to my kids, ‘that’s where mommy went to school, or that’s where grandpa and grandma used to take us when we were kids’. Its also fun how I am making new memories and experiences being an adult and on my own. Just look at this backdrop though, I truly am lucky to have grown up here and live that #luckywelivehi life.
I’ve been able to travel quite a bit for both work and leisure, which I’m grateful for. I sort of went into this summer break with a ‘lets do it now’ attitude, and that I did. I packed up my two kids and I, and off we were on our summer fun vacation to California for almost 3 weeks. As summer break comes to an end here soon (I know, so early!) I look back at the year and think to myself ‘wow, it’s gone by so fast’.
Thanks for tuning in and catching up with me. Looking forward to posting regularly again soon! Until then, catch me on Instagram or Facebook for my daily lifestyle posts!
PS, who’s been shopping or will be shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary sale?! Check it out now!
For the month of February I decided to cut out all meat products from my diet. It’s something I’ve always been interested in, wanted to try, but was always hesitant. I knew it would be a challenge, an experiment, and something I could only hold myself accountable for. So here it goes. I’m sharing my reasons why, the process, any changes, and what I’ve learned.
Giving myself a challenge, a goal, something to work towards to intrigues me. I find the idea of challenging myself, pushing myself, and learning through the process of it interesting. I wanted to see how and if my body would react to not eating meat. I also wanted to hold myself accountable to something; it makes me feel accomplished, satisfied, and drives me to better myself.
The idea of cutting out meat entirely wasn’t too shocking, I’m not a heavy meat eater to begin with, but finding a protein replacement would be most challenging. While starting off strong by meal planning, buying lots of fresh produce, and eating clean healthy meals, the beginning was easy. It became challenging and tiring to keep up after week 2 especially because I still had to cook a meat eating diet for my family so I was often cooking two separate meals everyday. I also found myself always hungry, weak, and tired all the time. It soon became a part of my daily life, that finding ways around eating meat was my new norm.
Was I expecting changes in my body? Yes and no. I wasn’t looking to lose any weight from this diet, but I was maybe expecting some physical changes to my body. I had to change my thought process about what I was eating and how I was thinking about food.
The number one take a way with this challenge is that it made me physically tired ALL the time. This was quite disappointing. I also learned that meal prepping is very important and makes things easier. Because I failed to meal prep I found myself often reaching for a non-healthy options. I think with a better approach, learning to meal prep and have not only meals ready, but snacks too, i think my outcome and process would be totally different.
Here's to the next challenge
In homage to my Birthday I decided to have a little fun with my post today. Here are 9 random facts about me
Hope you found this short post fun!
Now off to have some cake!
Times a ticking, with exactly 2 weeks till Christmas, holiday shopping is in full force! And whether you are finishing up your shopping, or have yet to start, good new is that today is Green Monday! So what is Green Monday? It's the second Monday of December, and has historically been the most busiest online shopping day! Why? Because Christmas is in exactly 2 weeks! Ahhh! Why does it always sneak up on us! Retailers know we procrastinate, so in comes the term 'green Monday' a day to save some green $$! This means lots of retail stores have amazing sales going on. It also goes by the name Manic Monday, where everyone realizes that shipping deadlines are quickly approaching. I will most definitely be finishing up my shopping list and best yet, when you shop online, your gifts will be directly shipped from them! Fabulous! No waiting in line at the post office and paying for shipping! So check out your favorite retailer, chances are they are having a cyber monday like sale going on. Linked below are some of my favorites where I go for gifts for everyone! Happy Shopping!
SAKS Exclusive! USE CODE: GREENMON
The countdown to Christmas is on! I’ve linked some of my favorite items that will be the perfect gift this holiday season!
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Your skin will thank you.
Last week we embarked on our family vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, located in Ko Olina, Hawaii. This was only our second time staying on site and this time with both kids. We usually do a family vacation around this time to celebrate the kids birthdays, so this vacation seemed like the perfect spot for all to enjoy; and that we sure did! Here are the Pro’s and Con’s of our Hawaiian Disney family vacation:
The service: From the moment we stepped on site, we were quickly greeted with Lei’s for the adults and little Tahitian necklaces for the kids. We were offered water and escorted right to the front desk for check in. From the smiles to the Aloha’s the service and professional attitude from ALL staff members made us feel extra special. We were allowed to start enjoying all the amenities of the resort, left our bags at the bell desk, and were texted when our room was ready, super convenient.
The Pool: At the time, the hotel was at 98% capacity, which means yes, it was crowded. The resort includes many different pool options. There were water slides, a kid splash zone/water bridge, lazy river, infinity pool, hot tubs, and even an adult’s only pool. Also, was a private resort only access right to the beach lagoon with complimentary chair and umbrellas for you to enjoy. I was also quite happy with the amount of lifeguards on hand, which I think is very important especially among children during water play. The whole family enjoyed the water slides and especially the lazy river.
Kids club: INCLUDED WITH YOUR STAY. Yes, you read that right; there is a Kids club where kids 3-12 can enjoy an array of different activities, all complimentary. While I was excited for our kids to try out Aunty’s Beach house, I was still hesitant to leave them in there with out my supervision. Would they get bored? Would they eat? Would they be nice to them in there? These were just some of my thoughts going through my head while signing them into the center. All I can say is that all of these thoughts and concerns were quickly reassured and calmed from the moment we started the check in process.
Each child is given a green band that acts as its check in ticket/security tracking. Everyone entering the house is required to wash their hands; I loved this, such a good idea to help fight germs. As soon as you walk in, it is quite large, very clean, very tidy, with cast members standing and observing all around. Let’s just say I never had to worry that my kids were unattended. With a 5,200 square foot house, there was a game room, movie room, arts and crafts room, eating room, and a huge outdoor play ground.
I was comforted by the cast member that the kids would be taken care of, would have a blast, and for us adults to go have a date night! I was honestly surprised at how calm she was, reassuring that they would be fine, and not to worry and HAVE FUN! As soon as we walked out of the kids club, my husband and I both looked at each other and were at lost about what to do with out the kids around, lol. Because of this great amenity, we were able to have some adult time, date nights and great reconnecting time. You can even call or go into the kids club anytime to check on the kids and see how they were doing. The kids center is open daily from 9:30 am – 9:00 pm for open play, they can come and go any time as long as they weren’t at max capacity.
Parking: The overnight parking fee is $37 per night. This is outrageous in my opinion. We never left the resort, so our car literally just sat there paying rent for the 3 days we were there. Parking options are non-existent around that area, so we really had no choice but to pay it.
Food Options: While the food itself is good on site, the options in my opinion are limited. I would’ve liked to see a casual dining restaurant that wasn’t pool based, but still quick and easy. I heard from guest that they would walk next door over to the Four Seasons because their prices were substantially lower than Aulani’s.
Characters: This is a Disney Hotel, and they do have scheduled character meetings, but I just wish they had more. My kids would’ve liked to see MORE characters walking around interacting in different type of activities rather than just standing in line to take a picture with them.
Summary: This is definitely one of the best family vacations we’ve ever had, and would recommend it as a a great family vacation spot. It’s a great place for the whole family to come together. There were many grandparents who were vacationing with their kids and grandkids . With the high price tag per night, I would say it’s worth it, with all the amenities for kids and things to do as a family. We didn’t want to leave by the end of our stay and will for sure make it back for at least one more stay during our time in Hawaii!