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Loving life in paradise.


Wow, I can't believe its been a few months since I've taken the time to sit down and document what Jeff and I have been enjoying since we moved to Hawaii.

The month of February was really us getting settled into our new rental home. We love where we live and hit the jackpot with our neighbors! We met our lovely neighbors within the first couple weeks of moving and we have enjoyed seeing them on the weekends. We're still in a pandemic so we have been very cautious with our gatherings...staying outside (luckily, Hawaii weather is perfect for outdoor gatherings most any day of the year), wearing masks and social distancing. Over the last month or so all of us that gather on the weekends have been 100% vaccinated so we all feel even safe around each other.

In March we were lucky enough to have our first visitors. My brother, niece and nephew flew from Iowa for Spring Break and stayed at Aulani, a Disney Resort which is on the west side of Oahu about 45 minutes from where we live. If you're a Disney travel fan I highly recommend that you venture to Hawaii and stay at this resort. It is BEAUTIFUL! This wasn't our first time visiting the resort as when we lived on-island previously my cousin and her husband visited and stayed at Aulani with their 2 girls and we were fortunate enough to visit them while they were on-island. There is so much to do at the resort: swimming in the Ko Olina Lagoon, snorkeling, character experiences, spa, golf, water slides, scavenger hunt around the resort and so much more! My niece, Emma took me on part of the scavenger hunt and I have to tell you it was sooo much fun to run around the resort and hunt for all of the different things that were shared via an ipad provided by the resort. Monkeypod Kitchen is a great restaurant within walking distance to the resort and such a great option to save a little money when dining out. In addition to spending time at the resort we also hiked Diamond Head, cruised to the North Shore, dined at Maui Brewing Co (amazing pau hana specials (aka happy hour) daily...not a lot of good restaurants have pau hana in Waikiki, Duke's Waikiki (must for anyone living and or visiting Waikiki in my opinion...classic tourist restaurant in the Outrigger Hotel, Waikiki Brewing Co. and Marugame Udon. My nephew, Noah really wanted ramen one night so while my brother, Emma and I went to Duke's for dinner Jeff and Noah walked to the super popular and busy udon restaurant in Waikiki. Noah was nervous about not knowing how to use chopsticks and was hoping they had forks....they did not but he figured it out and got his ramen. All in all it was a fantastic week of family visiting and we're so happy my brother and his family chose to visit us over Spring Break.

April arrived and with that came vaccinations and our second set of visitors. Jeff and I were both fortunate to get vaccinated at the beginning of April so we were so happy that our employer opened up vaccines early for employees. It was a big relief to have our vaccines complete for when Jeff's parents visited. Jeff's parents arrived mid-April for a two-week visit. The first week they spent on Oahu...staying in a couple of places including Queen Kapiolani Hotel, Manoa Valley Inn and Waikiki Sand Villa. The shortage of rental cars in Hawaii during this time posted a bit of an inconvenience for their Oahu visit but they made the most of it with Uber, walking and borrowing our car.

Moving into the second week of Jeff's parents visit we all flew to the Big Island for a long weekend stay to have a little rest and relaxation....again the rental car shortage gave us all a bit of anxiety after we had booked our VRBO....we rented a lovely townhome about 20 miles north of Kona but we ended up having to fly into Hilo as that was where we could secure a rental car. Flying into Hilo worked out! We arrived and drove to 'Akaka Falls State Park, stopped to enjoy one of the best malasadas I've ever had at Tex Drive-In before we made it to our home for the 4 night stay at Mauna Lani. We spent the mornings walking around the resort exploring the petroglyphs and sipping coffee from Mauna Lani Coffee. Our days were spent exploring the local beaches where I was perfectly content sitting in my beach chair with my kindle and wine spritzers while Jeff enjoyed going for swims and his parents enjoyed snorkeling! Our evenings were spent enjoying dinner on our lanai and playing a little farkle. We went to three different beaches and all (as I'm told since you all know I don't get in the water...ha!) had good snorkeling: Beach 69 Puako, Hapuna Beach and the beach at our resort....a bonus of our rental came with key card access to the owners private beach club parking...where there was a fantastic restaurant (and good bathrooms) right on the beach! We most certainly enjoyed a few Lilikoi Margaritas and Lava Flow cocktails while relaxing on the beach from Napua at Mauna Lani. All in all I highly recommend a vrbo/airbnb on the property of Mauna Lani for your Big Island adventure.

Our last day on the Big Island included a drive back to Hilo and a tour of Volcano National Park. Crazy cool and a little weird to be driving and walking on an active volcano that has crazy amounts of steam floating all around you and lava below. Definitely a must do if you are on the island. We saw one last waterfall as we got closer to the airport when we stopped at Rainbow Falls. We loved our entire trip to Hawai'i Island (aka The Big Island).

A few of my favorite photos from the last couple of months.

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