Mele Kalikimaka

I know it’s a few days in already, but “Hello 2012!” Since I last posted, we celebrated Christmas in Hawaii, New Years on an airplane, and my birthday home in Fargo.

Here’s the recap of our trip. Warning – this is a purrdy long post! Enjoy Folks!:

Friday, December 23rd: We flew out of Minneapolis early in the morning and arrived in Hawaii at about 3:30pm. It was an 8.5 hour flight from Chicago so we were pretty tired by dinner time (which would have been about 10:00pm in Fargo). We had dinner at a restaurant right outside our hotel, the Round Table. It was a little bar and grill that had good pizza and wings. After dinner, we were whipped and went straight to bed. It would take a few days to get used to the time change. I woke for the next few days at about 6am (10:00am in Fargo). Here are some pictures of our travel day. It was a tight squeeze in the back of my Dad’s Yukon for Melissa, Jake and I. Carrie got a little sleepy and took a snooze in the Chicago airport. The beautiful garden at the Honolulu airport. And we got to ride in the stretch hummer from the airport to our hotel! We’re pretty fancy 😛

Saturday, December 24th (Christmas Eve): On our first full day, we decided to go to Pearl Harbor. It was rainy and windy off and on throughout the day. We toured the submarine the U.S.S. Bowfin, explored the U.S.S. Missouri, and had to come back a different day to see the U.S.S. Arizona because it was too windy out that they shut down the boats out to the Memorial. It was really neat to see all of the historic landmarks and stories. I found out that I had a relative who died on the U.S.S. Arizona. My Mother’s maiden name is Williams, but she wasn’t sure which Williams it was on the wall. My Grandfathers were both in WWII so it was really amazing to get a small, small glimpse into what they were experiencing.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas Day): I must say as nice as it was to spend Christmas in Hawaii, it was strange to not have our traditions on this day. No grandparents, no aunts, uncles, or cousins, no snow, no Christmas tree, no turkey, no stuffing, no potatoes, a different church. It wasn’t bad by any means…just different. We started our day out by going to a local church. It was a packed house with probably 800 people. I was surprised by how all over the board the attire was; from swimsuits to very fancy dresses – it was interesting. It was finally sunny out that day so we were able to lay out pretty much all day which was awesome! We then had dinner at a restaurant called Duke’s which was AMAZING! It was my most favorite meal of the entire trip. It was really neat to have Christmas dinner on the beach!

Monday, December 26th: We rented a car for the day and drove around a lot of the island. Our first stop was Pali Lookout. It’s close to the top of this point that looks over a large portion of the Waikiki area. It was SUPER windy up there so we didn’t stay long but the view was amazing!

Next, we stopped at this Temple. It was a burial ground for many different religions and there was this large Japanese style temple that we were able to wonder around at.

Our last stop was at a Macadamia Nut Farm which also had a portion of the Luau that we were going to see in a few days. The farm also grew various fruits native to Hawaii and we got to see where many films and television shows were/are taped. We ended the day by driving to the North Shore but unfortunately didn’t see any big waves. We stopped at Waimea Bay for about an hour and I got to take a little nap on the beach.

Tuesday, December 27th: My sisters and Dad went to swim with the dolphins. Because I get very bad motion sickness, Jake, my Mom, and I stayed back at the hotel and laid out by the ocean all day. It was another very relaxing day – just what I wanted and needed! (Sorry no pictures.)

Wednesday, December 28th: Every weekend and Wednesday there is a local swap meet (flea market). They have a lot of very inexpensive touristy things. It is held at the Aloha Stadium, so it was neat to see that (some college football bowl games and NFL Pro-Bowl games are held there). This was the day that we went back to Pearl Harbor to visit the U.S.S. Arizona. (Sorry no pictures, again.)

Thursday, December 29th: We went to Hanauma Bay for a day of laying out and snorkeling. We had to get there really early because they only allow so many people on the beach at a time. Luckily we got in right away. Unlucky for us that it was pretty cloudy and windy this day…definitely not ideal for laying out! It was a beautiful area though and it was my first time snorkeling, so it was really neat to see the coral and different fish. (Pictures farther below.)

That night we went to a Luau. It was awesome! It was at the JW Marriott (which if I ever go back would be the place I want to stay!!). The scenery, the food and the entertainment was great! Everyone was had so much fun. When my Mom asked us later what each of our favorite parts of the trip was everyone said the luau! My sisters and I even got pulled on stage to do a little dancing.

Friday, December 30th: Our last full day in Hawaii 😦 We took advantage of the beautiful weather and laid out for most of the day. We had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe that night which seemed to be a great way to end our family vacation.

Sunday, December 31st: We go home today 😦 My mom, sisters and I were able to lay out that morning because we had to be checked out of room by noon. The rest of the afternoon we sat at a hotel bar that was outside and just enjoyed the nice weather and tried to waste some time. Our flight left around 8:00pm that night, so we were in the air and traveled through a few different New Year’s celebrations before we landed in Dallas. We had almost a 4 hour layover before leaving for Minneapolis and then driving another 4 hours to Fargo. It was a looooong day – almost 24 hours of traveling! I must say it was really nice to be get home and to see Henry!

::: I want to say a huge THANK YOU to my parents for everything on this trip! I know that Jake and I are both so appreciative for having the opportunity to travel with you  and to experience so many new things while on this trip. We love you very, very much! :::

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I’ll have the Hot Naked…please

This past weekend I made my first ever trip to the lovely city of Omaha, Nebraska. Two of my girlfriends and I made the 6.5 hour drive to visit one of our dearest friends who moved there in August. So, needless to say, we were all very excited to get there!

Friday night consisted of hours and hours of catching up! Who knew that we had that much to catch up on!?! We ended up going to bed well after 2:00am and, to be honest, I don’t know the last time I stayed up that late. Guess, I’m becoming a grown up…scary.

Saturday was Steph’s day to show us around her town. First, we went to a new outdoor mall and stopped at the store “Charming Charlie“. I had been to the store in Minneapolis, but this one was even bigger. This store is an accessories-lover’s dream! It had bags, shoes, earrings, headbands, and more! You name it and they probably had it. It’s kind of overwhelming when you first enter the store because there is just so much to look at, but it’s organized by color so it’s really nice if you’re looking for something specific.

Next, we went to downtown Omaha for lunch. We ate at “Spaghetti Works” – which was awesome! They have a make your own pasta option which seemed perfect until I had to tell the waiter, “I’ll have the Hot Naked with bow tie noodles and chicken, please…” Now for him, I’m sure he’s used to hearing that. But me, I could feel my cheeks getting a little rosy and my sweater began feeling just a tish too warm. I quickly got over my embarrassment after I got my meal and it was delicious! The Hot Naked is “an orgy of delight with sweet basil, olive oil, butter and garlic.”  It actually turned out to be my most favorite meal of the entire trip.

Steph, Mollie, Me, and Amanda @ Spaghetti Works

We did more looking than shopping while we were downtown, but it was fun to see the historic charm of the city.

Who doesn't love a horse and carriage ride?!

Steph recently go engaged {so happy for her and Aaron!} so she wanted to go try on some wedding dresses while we were visiting. I won’t show any pictures from that, but trust me when I say that she looked amazing in every dress!

We stayed at the bridal shop until close and then decided that we weren’t quite shopped out yet. We headed to another outdoor mall that had a ton of stores that Fargo doesn’t have, so that is always fun.

The mall was decorated with these huge red Christmas ornaments that we just couldn't resist taking a photo by.

We stopped at one of my favorite new stores “ZGallerie“. It’s a home decor store that had such affordable prices and yet was so high on style. Every time I turned or looked in a different direction I just couldn’t help but say “Ohhhhh I love that!” or “Ohhhhh I want that!”.

So much inspiration going on everywhere!

Loved the use of curtains as additional decoration to the headboard. And way easier than painting or wallpapering! {I spy a little photographer.}

Everyone needs some inspiration from time to time.

So we shopped till we dropped and ended our night with dinner at a restaurant called “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. It was a tropical, Jimmy Buffett type place with palm trees, grass skirts, the whole works.

A pre-dinner photo-op

Such fun, colorful drinks! Can you spot the "cheeseburger"?

My strawberry wears sunglasses at night.

The rest of our night consisted of eating more yummy snacks, chatting, and playing games. Pretty low-key, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything!  A huge THANK YOU to Steph for hosting us and showing us around all weekend! Great friends, great food, great city – what more could a girl ask for?!