Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the honeymoon edition - part two - Maui (part 2)

Ok.. where were we...
beautiful sunset off our lanai at our condo
The other big thing we did on Maui was drive the Road to Hana.
Here is a little info about Hana: The Hāna Highway is a 64.4-mile long stretch of road which connects Kahului with the town of Hāna in east Maui. Although Hāna is only about 52 miles from Kahului, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive when no stops are made as the highway is very winding and narrow and passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves along Route 360 from just east of Kahului to Hāna, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. Many of the concrete and steel bridges date back to 1910 and all but one are still in use.
It was a beautiful drive. We saw so many waterfalls, a black sand beach, a red sand beach, we tried several different "best banana breads on the island", we ate coconut candy and got coconut icecream. And we made it to Hana! But we didn't make it to the 'seven sacred pools'. They advise you to leave Hana at a certain time so you don't have to drive those windy roads in the dark, but we did not, and so we had to drive at night.
pics from the day:
an old lava tube cave we explored (140 feet back). We also went in a lava tube that was about a mile long and it used to even be a fall-out shelter for the Hawaiians, that was pretty cool
It was a long busy day, but a good one.

Monday, December 29, 2014

the honeymoon edition part two - Maui (part 1)

After a week in Kauai, Doug and I were ready to move on to the next island - Maui! We mostly enjoyed the low-key way of life on Kauai, but were ready for a little more activities and were hoping maybe it would be a little sunnier too.
We got in in the evening, and went out to dinner. Doug's dad said he had to try poi, so he did. It is a paste made out of the taro root, and it pretty much tastes like nothing, with a smeck of a fruity/grape taste. Meh. At least we can now say we tried it!
Hawaii does have this thing called a shaved ice, which is almost like a snowcone. But instead of grainy ice, it's really smooth like snow. And they put these delicious concentrated juices on top (as opposed to a snowcones sickly sweet HFCS flavors). Our friends had been here on their honeymoon and someone gave them a giftcard which they forgot to take, so they gave it to us. Yes! We went there 3 times :) You can also pay a little extra for this delicious blob of super creamy coconut icecream at the bottom. Of course I had to have it. Tasty!
This cool banyan tree in Lahaina is the largest tree in Hawaii. It is actually one main tree trunk, and the branches send down viney things that turn into another trunk. Pretty cool. So that main trunk in the middle is the 'mother trunk' and those other trunks you see are just supporting trunks that grew later.
We loved Maui, but it was not relaxing really at all. In Kauai we woke up early because of the roosters, and on Maui we woke up early because all the excursion/event things we wanted to do were on the other side of the island so we had to wake up early and drive over there. We did 3 main things: watched a sunrise over the volcano, we drove the road to Hana, and we went snorkeling to Molokini.
The morning of the sunrise, Doug and I woke up at 2:30am. The sun was set to rise at 5:30 and we had to drive way over to the other side of the island. We got there with plenty of time and bundled up because it was very cold and windy!
Doug was reading in the guidebook it said "it will make you weep". We did not weep. But it was beautiful, and a good memory, and we had fun sharing the experience with lots of random strangers. That was actually funny. We were sitting up there and it's getting closer and closer to sunrise and then still people are trying to drive up the road to the observatory. The parking lot was full and there was a line of about 75 cars lined along the side of the road. But no, car after car kept driving past that line thinking that surely there'd be a parking spot left. Nope. So then we'd all watch them drive slowly and swervingly in reverse all the way back down again. Then one car parked but kept their lights on down there right in everyone's view of the sunrise. So one guy was like, 'alright everyone, on the count of 3!' and then all of us sitting up there yelled at that guy to 'turn off his lights'. It was pretty funny.
Since we were up so early and on the other side of Maui, we saw a bit more of the volcano/crater.
This sign in the bathroom made me laugh, it warns you not to fill up your water bottle with toilet water. Honestly, it never crossed my mind to do that! Had this been a problem for them!!?
Doug by the crater
And then we did two things I had been reading about and really excited to see. A lavender farm, and a goat dairy farm. I guess it wasn't the season for lavender, so it wasn't really all blooming. But we learned about some plants and ate these super delicious lavender scones.
The tour guide lady made me this bouquet from the trimmings from along the tour
Next stop was the goat dairy farm tour. I had been excited about this for weeks. But when we got there, I was crushed to learn they stopped the part of the tour where you could milk the goats. Noooo!
Doug with the horns of their oldest goat
we did get to feed the goats some grass and feed
goat milk truffles! we tried pink peppercorn and chipotle chocolate. tasty
I don't know if I had just overly high expectations, but the tour was not that great. Doug and I still had fun, but I didn't really learn anything. This guide had only been there for 2 months and it was obvious. I felt bad him though because me or this other lady on our tour would ask a question, and he would almost never know the answer, or once answered something so unbelievable the other lady was like 'that's impossible'. I did end up writing to the farm later about how disappointed I was learning more about goats on wikipedia than on their tour. Which they didn't even respond to! Disappointing again. Anyway. I didn't plan to open my own goat dairy farm (although maybe I'd like to have one goat one day??) but I love tours and learning stuff, and it was a bit too casual (and inaccurate) for my tastes.
geez, I'm getting tired of writing, looks like this Maui post is going to have to be continued!

Friday, December 26, 2014

merry belated Christmas!

(Doug almost had his face scratched off for this picture)
Doug and I had a great first Christmas! We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, enjoyed the candlelight Christmas Eve service, and then Christmas morning slept in, had a delicious breakfast with mom and dad, and opened presents. Later we skyped with my sister and her husband, and then my brother and his family. It was nice. Then we headed over to Doug's parents. We ate some more, and relaxed. Then Doug and I went to see Unbroken. It was pretty close to the book, and well acted.
A couple days before Christmas Doug took me to one of my favorite restaurants MEX for dinner. He brought his own candle to make it a little more romantic :)
I love this salad and get it every time. Kale, bibb lettuce, yellow beets, brown rice, pepitas, avocado, goat cheese, and honey-cumin dressing. YUM.
After dinner he took me for a drive to look at Christmas lights and to the outdoor mall to walk around a bit before it started to drizzle. The candle made the drive more romantic too, haha.
Merry Christmas to you and your family as you celebrate the Savior's birth!

Monday, December 22, 2014

life lately

All my studying paid off!!
I'm so glad since that test was crazy and I seriously felt like I studied all the wrong stuff the last 3 weeks. So, WHEW!!
On Friday I walked in the graduation ceremony. Here is me with my friend Ashley. I love this girl, she's like 10 years younger than me, but we get along good, she's so sweet, and going to be an amazing nurse.
a bunch of us from our class decorated our hats (mine was upside-down, whoops!)
so cute, Doug helped me decorate.
Today Liz and I went and stood in line for 2 hours to be the first hundred people in line at a new restaurant, and we won free tacos for a year!
So that's cool. The line for free stuff was not the nicest assembly of people though, this guy was calling some lady fat. So rude, who does that?! But 2 free tacos for a week, pretty cool, except I see it's dine-in only so a little less likely to happen all that often.
Tonight I'm hosting book club, and soon Christmas and New Year's and applying for jobs!

Monday, December 15, 2014

cookie break

With my exam just days away, I am in desperate need of a cookie break.
I remembered this reaaaaally good chocolate chip cookie recipe I made last fall, so I went to my trusty favorite recipes binder and thumbed through my recipes, once, twice, more and more frantic, where was it!?! And then I remembered, I think I used the link from my phone and had not printed off the recipe because I had no printer ink at the time. Noooooooooooooooo!
Luckily my googling skills and impeccable blog reading memory (this good memory only applies to blogs unfortunately), I recognized the recipe after just opening 4-5 tabs.
So now I just need to convince Doug to stop at the grocery store on his way home for bread flour and cake flour, and then I'm in business! Although still only halfway in business as these cookies need a rediculously long refrigeration period. (2-3 days?!?) but they were very good. And how could one not wait after reading the author describe it as: Chilling. This is key — KEY! — to cookie texture success. The reason is that letting the dough rest allows all the eggs and the butter and the liquids to ooze and soak and hydrate into all the dry goodness. 24 hours is minimum, 36 is preferable (and noticeably better). Also, the flavor gets crazy! Deep, caramel-y, toffee-y, and they bake up so much more deliciously brown. Plus, it lets the outside get crisp and crackly and keeps the middle almost underdone when you pull them out — they set up and turn into soft, chewy heaven. You just have to. Soft, chewy heaven?? Who says no to that.
This time I'm printing it off, and linking it here in case anyone else finds themselves in a situation where they need a delicious cookie.

Friday, December 12, 2014

the honeymoon edition - part one - Kauai

well now that I've been home from the honeymoon for about a month, maybe it's time I write a little about it!
For our honeymoon Doug and I chose to go to Hawaii. Neither of us had ever been there, the weather is supposed to be pretty steady year round, and we just wanted to go there. A couple friends of ours went there on their honeymoon and couldn't say enough good things about it, so that also sealed the deal.
We chose Kauai to be the first island to go to. We had heard that it was pretty low-key, and laid-back and that sounded perfect after weeks of wedding planning craziness, and finishing up school. A couple days after the wedding, off we went!
(I still find uploading pics to blogger to be tedious and time-consuming and I have to get back to studying! So these will most likely be the highlight pics :))
In general, we really liked Kauai. We stayed in a condo up on the Northshore, and used our trusty AAA tourguide book and went on mini excursions everyday.
We saw a lighthouse/ bird sanctuary
we walked on the beach and saw a 'spouting horn'
Doug loved driving the Wrangler, we had 3 total during our trip. We liked this little city called Hanalei, they had good food, cute shops, a delicious fresh juice shack, and pretty beaches. One of those beaches was in the movie South Pacific where the lady sang about washing a man out of her hair.
On this island we had 2 pretty big day trips. The first one was a hike along the Napali Coast. This could have been a one-way 11 mile hike that later we found out people just live out there in the wilderness... no thanks... my aunt also told me later a part of the trail is just a foot or so wide over a cliff with no rope or anything and people do fall off. We just hiked 2 miles along the coast, and then we hiked another 4 mile round trip in towards the middle of the island to a waterfall. The trail was steep, rocky, muddy, and in parts completely covered in ants. We were sore for days afterwards, but it was beautiful.
(the view back at the Coast, after hiking 8+ miles we walked another mile on the beach to get to a place with excellent snorkeling. Doug snorkeled a bit but I was cold and a party poop and did not!)
The other really cool thing we did on Kauai was drive through the Waimea Canyon. It was said that this is the Grand Canyon of Hawaii, one thing is for sure, it is very beautiful.
waterfall off the cliff
the guidebook describes it as 10 miles of gorges cut into the plateau, it looked like it went on and on. Planes flying through the canyon looked like little toys
Another lookout, this time out towards the bay. When we got to the lookout it was covered in fog. Doug told a tourist who walked up that "he just mist it". Hardy har har. So we went back to the car and took a look at the map of where to go next, and noticed it looked like it was clearing up. We walked back over and were rewarded with that view!
more canyon
The canyon was on the southwest side of Kauai, but you couldn't continue driving up because of the sea cliffs. So we had to drive all the way back around and up. This was a view on the way home.
We really liked Kauai. A couple downsides, it wasn't really super sunny there. (Maybe it was just the time of year?) This island has a mountain in the middle with the world's wettest spot. And it did rain a bit everyday. I guess I had just imagined laying around in a bikini all day getting brown, but it wasn't really sunny or hot enough. The other crazy thing about Kauai is that years ago a hurricane came and I guess it freed chickens from a chicken farm. Since there are no predators on the island the chickens have taken over. So bright and early every morning around 5:30am Mr. Rooster was outside our door waking us up. So we didn't really get to sleep in much. (one more fun fact, on Kauai wild boar outnumber people 4 to 1!) In general, we really liked the island, got a chance to kick back and relax, and when the week was up we were ready for a little more busyness and adventure on Maui.
To be continued....