Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hawaii | Kauai

Kauai is probably my favorite place I've ever lived {so far}. When I was seven years old, we moved to Kauai, Hawaii from Port Huron, Michigan. And yes, it was a HUGE change from the Michigan winters. I have mostly pleasant memories growing up here and made some of my best friends that I am still close with to this day.

All in all, I spent ten years of my childhood here and moved away after I graduated from high school to attend a small private college in Washington state. My parents and brother moved to The Big Island {Hilo side} in 2004 so we try to concentrate our trips on the Big Island but Kauai is still my favorite so we always have to take a few days {5 in this case} to hang out here since it's where all my memories are!  

Last time we visited Kauai was 2009 -- I cannot believe it had been six years. That is just crazy talk. I must say that it has been nice to explore the mainland and Europe, but there is really no place like Hawaii {or Kauai for that matter}.  We splurged on a 5 star hotel and it was so worth it! I really felt pampered and the pool was heavenly. If you ever find yourself on Kauai, The St. Regis is definitely the place to be. We tried to spend as much time as possible there and it was a bit of a challenge because I had so many people I wanted to see and old haunts I wanted to revisit. But, I feel like we did a good job of relaxing + seeing the island.  It is so much more beautiful than I remember it. But, you know what they say. You do have to leave in order to truly appreciate the beauty.

One of my favorite things we did was a NaPali Boat tour. Can you believe I lived here for 10 years of my life and never did this?!?! Yikes. Well, never again... and next time we are going to do a Helicopter Ride even though we are both deathly afraid of heights. If not now, when!? 

Jake got in some golfing {2x} so he was a happy camper! While he golfed, I beached. It worked out perfectly. 

Below was our gorgeous view at Breakfast at the hotel. This photo doesn't do it justice - the view is breathtaking. 

The day before we left, we finally made it to Ke'e Beach {my favorite}.

There was a guy selling coconuts from the back of his truck so we gladly obliged. Best $5 I ever spent. We couldn't even finish the coconut water, those things are so full!

I love this church in Hanalei. I remember spending some time here as a child and it has some very special memories for me.

....and Justin Bieber even made an appearance. So, we were at the pool and I had been dying to spot a celebrity. Every time we travel anywhere, I am always trying to find a celebrity. I was so disappointed after not spotting one during our last trip to NYC. Anyway, I totally thought I spotted Anna Kendrick at the pool and all of a sudden, Jake taps my arm and he goes "The Biebs is here!" I was like no way... upon further inspection, it was him, doesn't the security guy make it obvious?! He hung around the pool and said hi when people came up to him, but he wouldn't take any photos. He headed off to a massage but I knew we would see him again. We had dinner reservations at 7 pm so we had to head back to our hotel room and get ready. When I pushed the button for the elevator, boom - out pops his security guard and none other than Justin Bieber himself. I decided that I didn't want him to think he was such a big shot, so I didn't even look at him. Guys, I snubbed Justin! Jake said he looked at him and he wasn't wearing sunglasses and he just noticed all of his tattoos. So, I missed my shot of seeing him up close. Who does that?! And finally as we were heading to the airport, we spotted his escalade and security guard taking all of the bottled water so the valet guys didn't have any left for us. Rude! Haha... he must live such a crazy life, though. The next time I looked at his Instagram, he was in Bora Bora crashing someone's honeymoon. So there's that...

and lastly, a Sunset dinner on our last night. Kauai -- we love you and we'll be back soon!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hawaii | A Wedding in Paradise

Jake and I had been wanting to make a trip to Hawaii since it had been six years since our last trip ...and I hadn't seen my family in 2 years. Hopefully we won't ever have to go that long again. When my brother announced that he was planning to propose, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. We had over a year to plan {and save} so that was very helpful so we could get our ducks in a row. They had a huge wedding, but it was just gorgeous and everyone had the best time. I helped my parents get all dolled up and we all just really enjoyed ourselves. I will admit that I did shed a few {happy} tears.

CONGRATS, AARON & LYDIA | June 6, 2015! 
#alberswedding6615 on Instagram

First, a few professional photos: 

...and my photos are below:

The bride and groom did an amazing job planning and the venue was gorgeous. Leading up to the wedding, everyone back in the mainland was asking me if they were getting married on a beach and I had to laugh, everyone has their stereotypes of a Hawaiian wedding.  Their wedding was actually at Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo which is just beautiful. Highly recommend if you ever find yourself on the Big Island.

The reception was a blast! So much fun dancing! 

Cheers to Aaron & Lydia! We love you guys so much and wish you only the best.

Kim (+ Jake)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hawaii | The Big Island

You guys! Jake and I spent a week at the most amazing AirBNB on the Hilo side of the Big Island. The place felt like a dream. The main house was built about 15 years ago on top of a lava field. Can I just live here please? The property was featured on the front page of the New York Times in June 2005. We stayed in the smaller "studio" unit which is nestled right near the garden on top of the lava rock and we got to use the pool, so win, win! 

There is a gorgeous garden built on top of the lava. 

The steps up to the pool...

The owner was so gracious as to give us a tour of the larger home which is like a museum. Every piece is perfectly curated and has it's own backstory. He is a designer, so I wasn't really surprised, but it was so inspiring to think that someday we could own and live in a home like this. You know we love our modern architecture. 

Of course we had to do a photo shoot in the pool. I am embarrassed to admit how many photos I made Jake take. ;) 

The living room of our place looks out to the beautiful Hawaiian Garden. The floor to ceiling doors that opened (all the way) to let the breeze in were one of my favorite parts of the home. 

Of course we had to play tourist and take in some of the beautiful Hawaiian scenery. While dad was working and my brother was prepping for the wedding, mom joined us for some Hawaiian sightseeing. Stop No. 1 was Onomea Bay, along a scenic route drive that is just gorgeous. I stop at this spot every time I'm in Hilo. 

A quick stop at Akaka Falls. I didn't really feel like going down to see it closer since we had so much more to cover, so we just admired it from above.

We got lost driving around the Old Mamalahoa Highway, one of the guidebooks mentioned it was the scenic route so I wanted to try it. Are you sensing a pattern here?

And finally the crown jewel. We took a road trip in search of The Waipio Valley Lookout. During my sophomore year of college, I came home to Hilo for much of the summer and ended up taking the drive down to Waipio and I remember walking along this beach below and also hiking up a zig-zag trail on the other side of the valley.  This time it was nice to observe it from the viewpoint. 

On one of our last days in Hilo, Jake and I decided to explore Kalapana and the lava flow. One of the coolest things about the Big Island is how many different places you can go to see either active lava or lava fields. Kalapana is one of those places, and there is a path to one of the newest beaches on the Big Island, called Kaimu Beach. 

This lava flow is relatively new - it completely covered the Kalapana Village in the late 80's or early 90's, and destroyed several homes in the process.

Newly formed Kailua Beach, near Puna. It's a quick hike to the beach but the water is pretty rough, so we passed on swimming in it.

We spent one of our last days with the family, just hanging out at my dad's friend's place, complete with geothermal pool (for those cold Hawaiian nights). I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the geothermal pool a lot more than I thought I would. It doesn't really get into the 90-100's in Hawaii and there is always a trade wind, so it's rarely ever too hot. Can you spot the ocean in the photo below? 

Can we just do this every weekend?

Next post, I'll be recapping my brother's wedding!