wan-na find something?

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

eating our way through o'ahu

 the next morning, i found a note that hotel staff had slipped under the door:

a quick peek downstairs showed that high winds were not a deterrent to the crowds that were already enjoying sun and waves down at the beach.  heh.

while the hub and the bean slept in a little more, i placed a mobile order for our island lattes and made my way down to go and pick them up.  the daily yoga class had just finished up and i was amused to see that like everything else at this resort, the mats were a bright, beautiful shade of pink.

while that would normally be enough incentive to get me out there for a class, i have to admit that i really don't love yoga.  not that it isn't challenging as hell...i just find it boring af.  heh.

i picked up our coffees, headed back up to the room to wait for the others to get ready and took mine out on the balcony to enjoy the breeze and the sounds of the ocean.  those are the moments i dream about when we're back home and i wanted to take advantage of every chance i got to soak it all in.

outfit of the day - a me-made coverup dress over a bathing suit because you just never know when there might be an opportunity for a nice dip in the water.

and we made sure to grab our floaties too, for the same reason.

the bean was craving some fresh mochi, so we revisited a spot we'd found on a previous trip: nisshodo candy store, serving up delicious japanese confections for 90 years.

the old lady had sent us an instagram reel by someone who had ranked all of the most well-known shave ice spots, and since we were fairly close to one of them we stopped in to give it a try.  shimazu shave ice shares a space with a few other food vendors in a little building right next door to rainbow drive-in (which i still have yet to try, maybe next visit?).

the ice was very finely shaved and melted in my mouth instantly, kind of like cotton candy.  it was indeed delicious and definitely gives waiola a run for their money.

as we made our way out of the honolulu/waikiki area we finally got a taste of those high winds that we'd been warned about.

it seemed that this was our day to eat all kinds of fun stuff, because our next stop was ono seafood for some delicious poke.

we drove around a little more, just doing some sightseeing from the car and then decided we wanted to go back and take a nap.  hahaha!  all of those good eats had sent us into a classic food coma and it was time to sleep it off for a bit.

by the time we woke up again, guess what?  yup - time to go eat again.  this was SO my kinda trip.

this time, we walked across the street and up the elevator to grab a table at liliha bakery.  on our last visit to o'ahu we'd hit up liliha on our first day, but since we knew we had one of their newest locations so close to our hotel we hadn't been in a rush to go.  

if you only get one thing here, it has to be this basket of warm, toasted buttery rolls served with their delicious housemade jam.  this stuff is like crack, i tell you (not that i've ever done crack. i guess that's kind of a stupid description, but you get what i mean).

the rest of our meal was pretty basic - loco moco, steak, breakfast for dinner.  and then as the bean and i got comfy in our beds while the hub went downstairs for a cigar and an evening adult beverage, they went into the fridge and busted out the last of the poke as a midnight snack.

what a day, amirite?

Thursday, October 26, 2023

all about that royal hawaiian life

the next morning, the bean and i were up first and headed out to grab coffee and bring it back while the hub slept in a little.  i took advantage of this photo op while it was early and didn't have crowds of people waiting to take a picture:

after picking up our island lattes we took our first visit of the trip to the abc store to grab some snacks, and on our way back through the royal hawaiian we stopped to check out the bakery.

i'd remembered to bring our coupon that got us a complimentary bag of freshly baked banana bread, which paired nicely with my coffee.

at the abc store, the bean had picked up some sushi and i'd grabbed a spam musubi that served as breakfast that day.

the nice thing about last-minute trips, especially with the hub, is that we kind of just wing it and don't have a schedule to stick to.  we just do whatever sounds good at the moment, and that day we threw on bathing suits and headed down to the beach to bounce around in the waves and soak up some sun.

the hub had opted out of inner tubing amongst the crowds of tourists and instead found a nice spot at the hotel pool, ordering drinks and relaxing in a lounge chair.  after the bean and i had our fill of salt and sand, we joined him and decided to share some food.

i threw in an order for their famous pink snowball - a light, fluffy cake with layers of pink frosting and lots of toasted coconut.  the bean and the hub weren't interested, but i found it delightful.

and after that - well, i know we went back upstairs to get cleaned up and then headed back out to grab dinner...somewhere.  i guess i was just living in the moment and didn't take any pictures which isn't like me at all, but hey - we were on a relaxing vacation and spending time together.  that's all that matters anyway, right?

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

who needs sleep, anyway?

mere hours after getting home from our epic eras tour outing, the three of us were in the car heading right back the way we'd come - but this time, our destination was LAX for...this:

the bean and i hadn't gotten home from sofi stadium until after 1:30am.  while i scurried around trying to get myself packed as quickly as possible, the bean was resigned to staying up all night in order to watch a livestream of BTS' suga closing out his solo concert tour with a final show in korea while also getting packed for the trip.  absolute madness.

at this point, we only had a couple of weeks left before the new school year started so we were doing our best to squeeze in as much fun as possible.  i wasn't at all sure that we were going to be able to fit in any kind of a big summer getaway this year, but somehow the hub pulled off the impossible and off we were for a week in our favorite place.

we always rent a car despite the exorbitant parking fees everywhere, because while we love waikiki and hanging out at the beach we also really enjoy driving around the island.

because our flight was so early, we'd arrived right around lunchtime.  and after mulling over our options, we decided to hit up one of our most favorite holes-in-the-wall:  kyung's seafood in honolulu.

kyung's never disappoints.  the freshest sushi and sashimi and ice cold soju slushies were a fantastic way to kick off our visit to paradise.

while our go-to place to stay has been the moana surfrider for years, this time around we decided to try something new.  the "pink palace," also known as the royal hawaiian, is just down the street from the surfrider and was our home for the week.

look, i brought taylor to hawaii with us!

the cool, comfortable beds in our room were really inviting and we all ended up taking some well-deserved naps.  the hub and i woke up before the bean and decided to take a short walk just across the lawn to the international marketplace, where we hit up our favorite island vintage coffee for a pick-me-up.  i was pretty excited to have my first island latte of the trip:

when we got back to the room, the bean was awake.  we were all hungry again by then, and so we headed downstairs and over to duke's for one of their delicious cheeseburgers.

of course, duke's was poppin'.  we cruised around the dining area a few times looking for an available table with no luck.  the hub had us hang out in the waiting area while he went to try and sweet-talk the hostess into giving us a spot us and came back to report that we could be seated immediately as long as we were okay with sharing it with another family.  hell yeah, we were. bring on the cheeseburgers.

when we got to the table, we smiled and introduced ourselves to the family of four that were our stablemates.  and when i sat down, the mom looked at me and said "do you make cookies?"

<insert record player screech here>

after my initial shock, we started chatting and it turns out that i'd done cookies for her son's first birthday...in 2015.  she found this blog while googling for information on run disney races and actually ordered cookies from me twice.  absolutely wild.

we all had a great time having dinner together - trading ideas for things to do while in o'ahu, sharing disneyland tips for their next stop on their vacation, marveling at the craziness of randomly finding each other after all these years.  i don't know if she still reads the blog, but if so...hey gurl hey!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

welcome to the eras tour

so, along with thousands of other fans, i'd registered to be a verified fan for the chance to snag tickets to  taylor swift's eras tour.  and along with thousands of other fans, i'd been waitlisted, but i figured i'd just find tickets on stubhub or something like that like i've done with lots of other concerts in the past. 

anyway, if you were watching the news last november you'll remember what a nightmare that whole ticketing process ended up being. this, of course, drove up pricing on resale tickets to incredibly high numbers.  fans were reporting that even on concert days - all the way up to showtime and even as the concert began - the tickets were still well in the four figures.  yikes.

i'd heard that 7-10 days before show dates, ticketmaster would randomly sent text messages to verified fans who hadn't been successful during the presale.  the message would include a link and a code to buy production hold tickets that had become available, on a first-come, first-served basis.  it was the last chance to be able to secure seats at face value, and there were countless social media accounts created for the purpose of sharing up-to-date information.

on the day that everyone was anticipating such messages to be sent out, i made sure to keep an extra close eye on my phone, hoping to get lucky.  alas, 10:00 came and went (that's when those texts were typically sent out) and i had no code.  i was sad.

but then ten minutes later...

i could not click on that link fast enough.  and when i did i got this, which led me to believe that either i'd gotten supremely lucky because usually the number of people ahead of me is much higher, or that the tickets had sold out in those ten minutes and everyone had jumped out of the queue because nothing was left.

BUT.  you already know where this is going because would i be telling this story if i hadn't gotten tickets??

this, of course, meant that i needed to get busy making friendship bracelets to wear and trade with other fans at the stadium.

sadly, the old lady's schedule didn't allow her to join the bean and me for the concert.  but one of the bean's besties is a huge swiftie who'd never seen taylor in concert before, so we asked him if he could join us.  of course, he said yes.

the next thing was to figure out what to wear - i knew that dressing up in taylor-themed costumes and/or lots and lots of sparkles was a thing for these concerts.  i didn't have a lot of time to play with, but a couple of clicks on amazon and all three of us were set.  here's mine:

and the kids went with something funny from the "you need to calm down" video.

it took about an hour to get to sofi stadium, but we'd bought a parking pass ahead of time - in the orange zone, of course, because it's the easiest to get in and out of (especially if you park near an exit).  i'd heard nightmarish accounts of sitting in the car waiting to get out for an hour-plus, and i wanted to avoid that as much as possible.

we had enough bracelets for all three of us to wear and trade:

the lines for merchandise were batshit crazy, but we'd anticipated that and made sure that we got there with plenty of time to spare.

most of our bracelet trading happened as we stood in that line.

it took longer than we thought to get through it, and so by the time we finally got to our seats both of the opening acts had done their thing and now it was just a waiting game for taylor to take the stage.  those production hold tickets were really good, and this was our view from our seats without zooming in:

our glow bracelets were in the cup holders, and from what i'd seen online, they were a different size and shape from the ones handed out at other stops on this tour.  a little more research told me that this meant they'd be filming for the concert movie.  whee!

not too long after we sat down, the screen above the stage went from this:

to this.

and when that countdown ran out, the stadium went dark and then this appeared:

hi, taylor!

"lover" is my favorite taylor song.

she loves us just as much.

she brought out haim to perform "no body, no crime" with her.

i would love to wear her reputation costume for halloween...probably right along with a bazillion other people.

also, her "cupcake wrapper" dress.

but hey - we were twinning for her "22" outfit!

here's where she gave her hat to a lucky fan plucked out of the audience.

her "folklore" set was really pretty, as was the dress she wore.

here's where the filming backfired on us - one of the cameras totally blocked our view of taylor during her acoustic set.  thank goodness for all of the screens everywhere.

appropriately, "midnights" was the last era and then the show was over.

say what you will about taylor swift - you may not love her music, but she works her ass off for over three hours every night of this tour - with a lot of those nights going back-to-back.  along with her dancers and her band, they perform at 100% for every moment and the entire show is carefully choreographed and is fully entertaining whether you know every song or not.

yeah, i'm definitely a full ass grown adult swiftie.  heh.

a visit to the forgotten fantasy

also during spring break, we scooped up the bean’s bestie and headed out to l.a. for a super fun outing. luna luna originally opened in 198...