Underwater Waikiki

Continuing the touristy recap of my in-laws visiting… We did the Atlantis Submarine tour. I have to give my husband credit, he found this one. I was worried that it would be kinda lame since we do quite a bit … Continue reading

Get Your Luau On!

When Omar came home, his mom, sister and niece came for a visit. One of the things at the top of their (and my!) list was a luau. This is one of the ‘Hawaiian’ things I had been saving to … Continue reading

Tailgating Hawaii-style

One of the perks of our current home is the proximity to the University of Hawaii Aloha Stadium. We have been lucky enough to attend a few games this season but this weekend was Hawaii’s last game of the year. With an 0-11 record it wasn’t looking too good for the Rainbow Warriors but they were playing Army and tickets were half price. Definitely can’t pass up that deal!

Hawaiians know how to tailgate and hanging out for hours ahead of time is part of the fun. Our set up was pretty modest compared to the fans that had multiple canopies, full size propane grills and a buffet spread able to feed dozens.




We were just fine with our single canopy, mini grill and enough food for us all to be stuffed. Also playing some cornhole is always a great time. We played couple vs. couple and ended up tying one game each. (Cornhole is a bean bag toss game, can be very competitive and can cause rifts in marriages, ha! Let’s just say it’s good we pulled out a win in our second game!) Technically speaking we aren’t really supposed to play it at all in the parking lot, the rules say no throwing anything and that includes balls, frisbees and bean bags. However the parking lot we parked in is the quietest one farthest from the stadium itself. I think security patrols where all the college kids hang out.DSC_0406


Hawaii fans! Really, they are just there for the snacks. After all that tailgate food, as soon as we sat down Mckenna was asking for a gyro.DSC_0414


Photobombed by my lovely daughter…20131201-094041.jpg




The Hawaii vs. Army game was also military night so we had halftime show that was honoring military members as well as wounded warriors. There was also a promotion ceremony for some lucky Army soldiers. Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant. (I have no clue what that means)DSC_0445


Small sample of the forces present on Oahu.  Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.DSC_0450


Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Congresswoman was also there to honor the military. She is a veteran herself. I really like her and it was hard to not go get my picture taken with her but I hate being ‘that person’.DSC_0457


One of the last plays of the game, and Hawaii pulled out a win. It’s always fun to go to the games, but WAY better to get to see the home team WIN! Go ‘bows!



U.S.S. Arizona Memorial

I don’t know why it took me so long to visit this memorial, it is absolutely stunning and sobering to visit. I guess that is the good thing about guests is that they give you that kick in the pants … Continue reading

Shangri La

Okay. If you live here or are vacationing here you HAVE to visit Shangri La. Oh. My. Goodness. This place is insane!

A little backstory:

Shangri La was built by Doris Duke in the 1930s. (She was a crazy rich heiress) She gets married and on her honeymoon does an around the world trip. While on her honeymoon she falls in love with Islamic artwork and design. So she starts to collect some… On her way home they stop in Hawaii where she ends up staying for 4 months instead of a few weeks after falling in love with the island.

She ends up moving to Hawaii and building this BEAUTIFUL house near Diamondhead. She continues to collect Islamic art and has craftsmen working on the house for years. After her death she left the house in a trust and tours are conducted through the Honolulu Museum of Art.

While the kids were still in school (Shangri La is 8+ I think, but even then it’s not really kid friendly) Steph and I headed downtown to the museum to catch our shuttle. Of course we had to do a little poking around in the museum as well!




There was also a small section with some Islamic art and a video with a synopsis of Shangri La. See those 8 pointed star tiles with the cross tiles? Those make my heart flutter. This stuff was so insanely beautiful. museum2Finally we hopped onto our shuttle to Shangri La which is only about 10 minutes away.

As you can see from the driveway, its a pretty private location. The house sits on 5 acres of Hawaiian perfection.




And the front door. Here is where it gets incredibly sad. You cannot take pictures inside the house. RIGHT?! Can you believe it! I know, I know, I get it but it was SO hard to keep my camera in my bag. And we had a lovely security guard escorting our tour group just to make sure!DSC_1588Oh and this part I just found hysterically amusing… So our guide is telling us about this front door and translating the Arabic inscribed on it (Something along the lines of ‘May Allah bless those who enter’ something like that) And one of the older ladies in our group was like, “Did she know what that meant?” Like it was so horrific to have this door say those things. I am pretty sure Doris Duke had quite the staff willing to translate for her, she didn’t practice Islam but I think she appreciated the beauty in the religion for sure.

*This is where all of my interior photos of the house would be*

And out back we are!

DSC_1599 DSC_1598

This is the living room window, that window is one entire piece that, at the push of a button, slides into the floor. I love it! And it is all original from the 1930s!


Out on the lanai…DSC_1594 DSC_1593

This boat basin has now been turned into a swimming hole… You just have to get creative with how to get there. I hear on weekends it is a bit crazy!DSC_1591

Master Bedroom windowsDSC_1602

I just loved this tabletopDSC_1603

Guest house and poolDSC_1604 DSC_1605





That concluded our tour, but we did enjoy a fabulous lunch at the museum. Beautiful setting and great food!DSC_1613

Perfect lamb salad! There was not a bite left (well except for the tomatoes!)DSC_1618


“Winter” at the North Shore

Winter in Hawaii is a pretty laughable thing. I must confess I am enjoying the hell out of this winter! I can totally live in flip flops year ’round.

Well, some of my lovely FRG wives and I decided that we needed to take a day trip up to the North Shore. Some of them had *gasp* never been. I just ADORE it up there, I like the scenery, the vibe and most of all the FOOD!

So we loaded up all 16 of us and headed north.

First stop, as always, Turtle Beach.

DSCF1006aThere were only two little guys braving the crazy surf to find food. The North Shore in winter is when all the crazy waves are here, there are surf competitions going on all the time right now!

Then we grabbed a friendly Turtle Beach volunteer to take a picture of our tribe.

317982_10200418815494741_1481297519_nOnward to our first meal of the day, my favorite North Shore eatery, Ted’s Bakery. We all grabbed our food to go and hit up the beach to eat lunch. I was so bummed, my bbq chicken combo was a bbq chicken sandwich. Same chicken but in a bun and with fries instead of rice and mac salad. First world problems, right?

We headed to the lovely tidepools at Shark’s Cove where the rocks around kept it pretty protected and gave the kids somewhere to play.

SCWe all played and ate and played and talked. The weather was overcast and about 78, not a perfect beach day but man, it’s better than what most people are getting right now!

Of course after all that playing it was time for dessert. Oh did I not mention I picked up a Chocolate Haupia Pie from Ted’s? Can I say I don’t think our kids will EVER forget this pie. This is how we do it here, pie on the beach. Grab a fork…



After dessert we spent more time playing (kids) and gossiping (moms) making plans for our awesome ship’s Family Readiness Group. By this time we were famished! Time for dinner! Off to Haleiwa for some shreeyump. Shrimp trucks are everywhere and they all are a little different. I think I may have found my new favorite after being disappointed by the famous Giovanni’s.

shrimpGreat selection, Lemon Pepper, Garlic, Original, Coconut and Spicey. $12/plate. I ended up sharing with the kids and then regretting it because they were SO good! We were all peeling shrimp and licking our fingers. So ono! (See me dropping some local lingo?!) So if you see this truck stop and order some yummy food!

Time to finally head home after a looooong day, the kids were tired:

DSCF1042Well one was anyways…



And the view on the ride home wasn’t half bad…



Great day with friends and the kids, just wishing my husband had been able to be with us… Counting down the days. Four months done so far!