seattle

I officially made it through my second business trip! My first one was during my second week of work in Sonoma, CA, so I really had no idea what to expect. This one I have been preparing for since January, so I definitely had a better grasp of what was going on and more personal responsibilities! I’ve been excited for the location since I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle, but a little nervous of the meeting in general. Luckily, everything turned out great and the meeting was a success!

It was a short trip – leaving Thursday really early in the morning, getting to Seattle by lunch and then leaving Saturday morning. My co-worker and I had a few hours free after we got in so it was very nice to get out and enjoy the nice weather and see some of the Seattle sights!

We walked to Pike Place Market.

Unfortunately didn’t see them throw any fish – disappointed!

But we did see the gorgeous mountains in the background. Why can’t Wisconsin have any of these?!?

We walked by the waterfront.

Saw possibly the first (?) Starbucks. It looked old anyways so I’ll say it was the first.

Our hotel was very nice – big comfy bed along with a separate sitting room.

And a view of the water!

And of the other downtown sights.

Thursday was the only day I got my camera out for fun pictures since by the time the meeting was over on Friday it was raining and almost dark. All in all, I am in love with the city and definitely want to come back! I’m thinking a trip that will take me from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland would be a great getaway :). Luckily the plan is for me to keep coming back for this meeting every year – so I should be back soon!

More on my HILLY Saturday morning run in my next post!

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disney 2012: harry potter + magic kingdom

The flight over on Wednesday night was luckily pretty smooth. We left Milwaukee around 6:30cst and arrived in Orlando by 9:30est (there was a massive tail wind!). Once we got to the airport we got our baggage and headed to the rental car counter and ended up getting a Toyota Rav 4 (Sister’s favorite!). We drove from the airport straight to our first hotel of the weekend, a Holiday Inn that was right by the front gate of Universal. When I first reserved the hotel room at Disney, I wasn’t sure if we would come on Wednesday or Thursday, so I only got the hotel room from Thursday – Monday. It ended up being a good thing with our Universal plans to stay so close (and we saved money on the hotel + parking for Universal and that’s never a bad thing!).

Thursday morning we got up and Sister and I attempted to find a Starbucks for our morning java. We first went in one that was in a hotel, but they wouldn’t take Kinley’s Starbucks Gold Card and we didn’t have enough cash on hand. Luckily, the manager told us of another Starbucks (just across the street in the parking lot) that was a normal Starbucks and would take the Gold Card. So we walked across the parking lot and found the real Starbucks – darn hotel Starbucks not being really real…

After our coffees, a light breakfast of some homemade muffins and peanut butter, we got ready and mom decided to hit up a grocery store to find some additional breakfast foods, plus water to refill our Camelbak’s. I then had a second breakfast of cocoa pebbles (not the healthiest, but gluten free!) with a banana on top. We were going to take our hotel shuttle over to the park, but it didn’t leave until 10 and we were ready by 9:20. We decided to bypass the shuttle and just walk over (around .8 of a mile to the gate).

The only reason we were going to Universal (Islands of Adventure) was for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That was the only thing I knew about the park and the only thing I wanted to do. I have a one-track mind when it comes to Harry. We got to the park, entered, and headed straight back to the Hogwarts™ ride since I have read and heard the line can get really long so it’s best to go there right away. The line was loong, and the wait was already over 100 minutes, but there’s not really a ton to do in HP World so it was worth the wait for me. We ended up being in a line full of morons – how does that happen?! The lady in front of us was with one of her kids (who was not tall enough for the ride) while her husband and other kids went who knows where. She kept looking behind (waiting for them to catch up?!) and not moving forward and was super distracted. The group behind us yelled at us at the start of the line because we tried moving around them when they weren’t even in the line yet (and waiting for other members of their group yet again). Their group ended up getting split up then because of the little fit to not let us move around, and ended up moving back in line after the ordeal. Seriously lady, either your group needs to be together or you need to let others in front of you. And if you make a fit? There’s no way the rest of your group is going to be able to move ahead… Courtesy is all I ask for.

The line went okay but then the entrance to Hogwarts was a disaster. Apparently you can’t have any loose items on you (even though my purse was not loose) so you had to get a finger print activated locker. After a brief losing of mom in the line, we got a locker, put in our stuff and then decided to go in the single rider line since there was no wait vs. the 45 minute stay in your group wait. Sooo incredibly happy we did that because you couldn’t even see the people besides you. I guess when kids can’t really go on their own ride single riders are out for families and that’s a majority of who is there! The ride itself was pretty cool, it was half real and half special effects with the seats moving like we were flying through the air on a broomstick! Once we got off the ride we went back out to the main street at Hogsmeade™. I had wanted to go into Ollivander’s to see the wand demonstration and possibly purchase a wand, but the wait for the demonstration was 45 minutes and there was also a line for the shop – seriously Universal, a line to get in a shop?! We bypassed on that, figuring I really didn’t need a wand and it would have just been clutter. One day, one day…

There wasn’t a line to get into Honeydukes™, so mom and I went in there, I got a couple of chocolate frogs and some jelly beans. There was a line to check out (of course), but along the way I spotted Pumpkin Juice! I had originally wanted to try Butterbeer, but it kind of looked gross and I think it sells for $11, so I went for the more reasonable $5.99 Pumpkin Juice. It ended up being quite tasty. It was a mix of apple juice, pumpkin and some spices – pretty close to apple cider consistency.

After that round of Harry Potter, we decided to circle around the park to find something for lunch. We ended up getting turkey legs, popcorn and potato chips (oh-so-healthy, right?!) in Comic Strip land. We decided there wasn’t actually anything else that we wanted to do, so we went back to Harry Potter to see if the lines had decreased at all. They hadn’t, so we went into Honeydukes again to get some fudge for dessert and found Zonko’s that was at the other side of the checkout line in Honeydukes. One thing that I found absolutely crazy about this section of the theme park was that everything was so TINY. There was barely any room for anyone in the shops, lines to get in the shops, the street was packed, lines for Butterbeer went up the whole street. I’m not sure if this was their plan for this park, or if they totally under-planned how many people would want to come to just this section. Kind of a disappointment, but I am glad we got to go!

After we were done at Universal, we walked back to our car and headed toward the hotel. We decided to stop at a Super Walmart on the way to pick up some food to have on hand at our hotel. Checkin at our hotel, Port Orleans French Quarter, started at 3 and we arrived shortly after. We moved all our stuff into the hotel and then sat around for a bit before heading out to our next destination. We decided to take the river boat Port Orleans offers to Downtown Disney because that’s where we thought the race expo was. Apparently the ESPN is not in Downtown Disney… whoops, so we walked around there for a bit and found Babycakes!

We ended up getting a mix of six different things because it saved a little money. We got a coconut doughnut to eat right away, and then a coconut doughnut, a chocolate crunch and a vanilla crunch doughnut for the next day, and a chocolate mint brownie and carrot cake cupcake for after dinner. The coconut doughnut was SO GOOD. We will definitely have to come back for more goodies later on this weekend!

We decided to pass on the expo for this day and go the next, and Magic Kingdom was going to be the next stop of the night for their nighttime show/fireworks. We’re not the hugest fan of Magic Kingdom, but wanted to see it so nighttime was the perfect opportunity. Before we found the bus there, we figured it would be best to get dinner at Downtown Disney. Bad choice… we ended up at Portobello where Kinley and I ordered caesar salads with chicken – telling them we were allergic to gluten, so with no croutons. Everything seemed fine at first, so we were eating and then all of a sudden a crouton falls onto my lap from my salad… rather than remaking a salad they had just picked the crouton off – leaving crumbs and pieces behind that had fallen to the bottom of the salad. Not okay! Luckily we got the salads without dressing so after looking further we saw the crumbs… if the dressing had been on it we probably would have ended up eating the whole thing. Needless to say we just left, both incredibly annoyed and disappointed that we had to put up with that ordeal on our first night here. Hopefully we didn’t eat anything, or not enough, to make it impact the race on Saturday…

We found a bus that could sort of get us to Magic Kingdom. We took the one to the Contemporary resort and then walked across the street to the park. We entered and then walked around. People were already lined up for the parade starting at 8. We tried finding a spot to stand, didn’t have any luck so we wandered around aimlessly, trying to go to Space Mountain (it was having technical difficulties) and then found an off the street spot to stand/semi watch the parade. The parade was pretty good – the floats were pretty with all their lights but the music played the same music over and over again. It got really repetitive. The castle was gorgeous with its icicle-looking lights tho!

We left shortly after the parade to head back to the hotel and go to bed. My legs were already extremely tired – not a good sign for the race since we still are headed to a park on Friday and not much rest is in store!

schedule for disney

I can’t believe we’re leaving tomorrow! All my things still need to be packed, and our shirt designs have yet to be finalized. Sister and I got matching purple shirts, but we’re designing a little something for the back. The original plan was to puffy paint, but the ease and greater graphicability won over for our new plan. No costumes for this race… I think I’ll save that for Halloween ;).

Plans for this vacation are still not set in stone, but here is the general schedule of our trip!

Wednesday

Flight to Orlando after work. Staying at a hotel near Universal Studios for the night.

Thursday

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I’ve been slightly obsessed with Harry Potter for the past 12 years and I finally get to visit Hogwarts! Plans for the day include going to Ollivanders and look at all the wands, drinking both Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, going to Honeydukes and of course going on all the rides they have there ;). Pretty sure I’ll be geeking out the entire time. And that reminds me… pack maroon + gold clothing…

At night we’ll probably hit up a Disney park for a night parade or something, not sure exactly what but we’ll probably be getting the 5 day pack for Disney parks. It seems to the best deal and that way we won’t feel stressed about not having enough time at the parks we want to go to! We will also be staying at a Disney property from Thursday-Sunday night so we will have to get checked in there today as well.

Friday

The race expo is Friday near Downtown Disney so we will definitely be stopping by to pick up our race bibs/packets and spend some time “Downtown”. A trip to Babycakes will also be in order! Gluten free heaven :).

We’ll also spend some time at a Disney park, possibly some hot tub time and early to bed!

Saturday

I’m hoping I will be able to successfully sleep for at least a little bit on Friday night. It’ll be an early wake up, so I’m not sure how that will go but I guess there’s no reason to worry about it now! I’ve heard the night before the night before the race is the most important night to sleep well, so Thursday is the night to hopefully pass out ;). We’ll be getting up around 3?am for coffee + rice cakes and to get to the start line. Mom’s coming along and she’s part of the chEAR squad and has a special pack of goodies to use to spectate during the race! It’ll be so nice because we can wear sweatshirts close to the start time of our corral and then give them to her when we’re queuing up.

The rest of the day will include showering, eating, stretching, sleeping (?) and spending some time at a park later on. At least for a show or something!

Sunday

This is the only full day we’ll have for a park, so we will probably spend as much time at one as we can! I’m thinking Hollywood Studios since it has my favorite rides and things to do, but I also want to spend a bit of time at Epcot. I guess only time will tell. And maybe we will go spectate at the Marathon for a little bit? Hopefully I’m not too wiped out – I’ll just have to get a couple shots of Espresso if need be.

Monday

We will be spending the morning/early afternoon at another Disney park. Not sure which one, but I’m sure it’ll be a blast :). We definitely want to get to Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom isn’t a necessity so we will see what we feel like when the time comes! Our flight out is at 4:30pm so we will have a good part of the day to dedicate to a park. And then back to cold, snowy Wisconsin!

Man, it still blows my mind I will be a half marathoner in a week… definitely has not sunk in yet! Time to pack!!

maui day 10/11: traveling home

Day 10 technically lasted quite a long time since it really stretched over days 10 and 11.  After the activities we did throughout the day we still had to begin our venture home.  I had managed to adjust to the time change getting there just fine – Hawaii is 4 hours behind WIsconsin so I just had to stay up a few extra hours that first night, which ended up being surprisingly easy considering the early morning wake up call.  During the week I went to bed at decent times by Hawaii standards, between 10 and 11pm most nights, if not earlier, and I was getting up between 5 and 6.  Well, Wisconsin time that all of a sudden turns into 2am going to bed and waking up at 9… definitely not going to happen when working!

What I think messed me up the most coming home was the first plane ride, it was set to leave Maui at almost 11pm… which wouldn’t have been bad if I was a good plane sleeper but I am definitely not!  Anyways, we got to the airport over two hours before, and thank goodness we did because by the time we checked in and went through the incredibly long and ridiculous security line, we had just enough time to run to the bathroom and walk on the plane.  Something was going on that made everything slow up considerably compared to normal, so I am really glad we were able to make the flight… although who wouldn’t want to be stranded in paradise for an extra night?!  I would have been okay with it.

It was only a 6 hour flight from Maui to our layover in Denver.  I maybe slept for 4 hours of it?  I remember being absolutely freezing and waking up randomly and trying to find a comfortable way to get to sleep.  Not easy when sister is hogging the seats… We arrived in Denver around 9am Denver time, so I ate some random snacks as breakfast and grabbed an Iced Americano from Starbucks to help wake me up.  Our flight from Denver to Milwaukee was delayed an extra 10 or so minutes because our flight attendant decided not to show up.  This plane was TINY!  And we were in the front row… meaning we didn’t have floor space for carry-ons and I had to gate check my backpack.  I mostly read on this flight while sister got even more sleep…  Luckily we ended up arriving in Milwaukee 10 minutes early!

After we arrived, I had to wait for my bag that was gate checked and then go and get our checked luggage.  Dad went to go get our not-as-cool-as-jeep-or-pip vehicle and we headed on our way back to the house to meet up with the pup.  He was so happy to see us!  It’s always sad returning from vacations, but I know Crosby misses us terribly so he is definitely happy we returned!  The rest of the day was spent being incredibly unproductive.  I did get two loads of my laundry done, but nothing else!

Getting back into the swing of things at work has been easier than I thought it was going to.  I was prepared to have an absolutely stuffed inbox, but just had a little over a hundred new emails – kind of miraculous!  I have not been tired as much at nights and super tired and out of it in the mornings, but I am gradually getting used to the time change and hopefully the long Thanksgiving weekend will help get me back to normal!

maui day 8: island transfers + lahaina

Kauai time has officially passed for this vacation – so sad! I will miss the garden island and hope to return soon :). For breakfast I had a plate of fruit along with 1/2 a Sweet Marie’s blueberry muffin and some chex + chia. So fruity and delicious! We left our condo a little after 7 to catch our Hawaiian Airlines flight from Kauai to Maui. Getting to the airport was no problem – we dropped off the Jeep and got through security and just had to wait for our plane to arrive. We left on time at 9am and arrived in Maui well before 10. Dad went to pick up the new rental car – this time a nice lil’ Lincoln Towncar which I nicknamed Pipsqueak (Pip). Such a nice little island car…

We drove from the airport to a harbor that Mom and Dad had sailed out of in the past looking for a charter, as well as a fish shop they were remembering. We came out 0 for 2 and continued on our way to Kihei to find something to eat for lunch instead. We ended up at Fred’s Mexican Cafe for fish tacos. I got mine in corn tortilla shells with refried beans. Delicious. After that we checked on our condo, but it wasn’t ready yet so we headed to Lahaina to look around instead.

We started at the huge Indian Banyan Tree. It is the largest in Hawaii and spans an entire block. So many tourists! Lahaina is definitely a cruise port and caters to the individuals who go on cruises.

For an afternoon snack we stopped at Ono Gelato Company for gelato!  We saw an exciting sign for gluten free brownies!

Unfortunately there were no brownies made today, so Kinley and I decided to share a large with pistachios, macadamia nut + big island crunch (coffee, chocolate + macadamia nuts). All three were delicious!  We continued to walk around Lahaina for a bit until our 3 hour parking was up and then headed back to the condo to officially check in and head out to grab some dinner!

We ended up at Monkeypod. We shared some french fries for an appetizer with homemade ketchup and dijon mustard aiole. For my meal I got Grass Fed, Hormone Free Peppercorn Rubbed Filet Steak with Kona coffee honey butter, jasmine rice and green beans and broccoli. It was a pretty expensive meal – $31 for the steak, but it was delicious and I loved the Kona coffee honey butter on top!

kauai day 5: kilohana plantation + beach time

This morning started with a 4 mile run.  This week’s training increased my weekly distance by a half mile again – crazy!  I didn’t really know where to run around the condo since it is right off a highway and didn’t want to end up somewhere dark and scary with a bunch of chickens cornering me, so I stayed pretty close.  There are a few lit paths around the different buildings so I looped around those for a bit, and then went to the highway for a little longer, and then looped back in.  It worked pretty good and I will have to do something similar on Wednesday!  It might also help if I wasn’t running in the complete darkness – I was up at 5 this morning and the sun isn’t quite up yet that early.

After I got back, Kinley and I had coffee on the Lanai and then made our Nature pancakes again from Saturday – although this time with macadamia nuts rather than granola in them.  So good, and I absolutely love the syrup.

We left the condo at 9ish to get to the Kilohana Plantation by 9:30 am.  We were there in plenty of time, so we had a chance to walk around and take some pictures of the grounds.  Everything was so beautiful!

We got reservations for the train + hike + plantation tour which was a four hour tour taking us around the grounds and telling us different things about both the plantation and Kauai in general.

I love these trees!  Captain Cook’s ships brought them over as they were used to repair masts of their ships if they were to get damaged.

Our first thing we did once we got off the short train ride was feed the pigs!  They got a nice snack of some bread and hawaiian rolls, lucky pigs!  I attempted to throw all of mine at the little babies because they are so darn cute.  I really wanted to bring one home with me :).

The next stop on the tour was a short hike (1/4 – 1/2 mile?).  It went down into a ravine on the property that was unlike anything else I had seen in Kauai.  There were so many different types of vegetation and a bunch of bugs – wasn’t a fan of the bugs but at least they left me alone!

This is a Banyan Tree.  It was actually a mango tree at one point but was taken over by the banyon – it’s a parasitic vine that slowly suffocates the tree from the inside out – and grows from the top down.  The vines are SO thick and strong nothing can be done about it.  It’s so sad, but I do think it looks cool.  We have an entire tunnel of these at the entry to our condo.

After the hike that took close to an hour, it was time for lunch!  Turkey wraps were provided, but we called ahead and they were able to put together a salad instead of the wrap.  I can’t believe how excited I have been to have salads here because we couldn’t find any lettuce at the grocery store so it almost feels like a treat!  I also had some Guava Nectar and a blueberry Sweet Marie’s muffin that we packed along for a bit more sustenance.

After lunch we started out trek through the plantation gardens, and had a ton of fresh fruit samples right off the trees/plants/bushes.  We got to sample a guava, an orange, a tangerine, starfruit, pineapple. avocado, papaya, some weird eyeball looking thing, sugar cane and probably a couple others but I can’t remember them all, but they were all so good!

The tour lasted until 2 pm and then we headed to the Kalapaki Beach to soak up some more sun.  It wasn’t the best beach around, but it was still a beach so I can’t complain too much!  We stayed for a couple of hours and then left to head back to the condo, clean up and then find somewhere to go for dinner.  I realized when we got back to the condo that I had gotten a little sunburnt from the plantation tour – some of it was also a sun rash so hopefully it isn’t as bad as it looks right now haha.

We ended up going back to Lemongrass Grill for dinner to get the Guava BBQ ribs again – they are so good!  Although this time I washed them down with a Mudslide that was so strong I couldn’t drink it all.

After dinner we strolled a path by the beach for a few minutes because we were all so full!  And then headed back to the condo for hot tub time and bed.  I can’t believe we’ve only got 2 days left in Kauai!  In some ways it seems like we’ve been here a really long time because we’ve done so much, but now it seems like it’s going by too quickly!

kauai day 4: kauai coffee + waimea canyon

I started out this morning at 5am, unassisted by any alarm clocks.  It is nice to get up so early on your own and have a ton of extra time built in.  I had some Kona coffee (just can’t get enough!), and then went out for a 2 mile walk to try and scope out somewhere I could do a 4 mile run on Monday.  Our resort is right off a highway and has a short private drive, so I guess if worse comes to worst I can pretend I’m on a track and just do loops around the condo.  After I got back I had breakfast – some Chobani strawberry yogurt mixed with chia, granola and topped with a little Sweet Marie’s Morning Glory muffin with a half of a grilled Tropical muffin on the side with strawberry-guava jam.

We left the house and headed toward Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  On the way we stopped at Kauai Coffee Company for their short self-guided tour and coffee samples!  It was a gorgeous and sunny day with blue skies everywhere.

I had about three sample cups and my favorite was the Caramel Crunch Macadamia – and we bought a bag to brew in our condo ;).  I also really liked a banana flavored one that would have made awesome iced coffee.

The tour was 1/8 of a mile long, so just a short walk through some coffee plants.  It was really neat to see all of the coffee fruits/beans still on the plant!

After we got our coffee buzz on, it was time to go across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge.  Dad made it quite scary by stepping unnecessarily large – I grabbed on to the railing at one point and still have a nice sliver of the bridge with me in my finger :/.

We kept driving down the highway toward Waimea Canyon and stopped for lunch at The Grove at the Waimea Plantation Cottages.  We shared pork nachos for an appetizer, and then I had the catch of the day which was Ono, grilled and topped with papaya aioli on a bed of cabbage with a side of steamed rice.  It was so good!  I even got a salad before it with delicious Papaya dressing.  And the entire catch of the day was only $15.95!

After our big lunch, we stopped across the street at Kauai Granola Sugar Cane Snax to see what they had.  I ended up walking out with Pina Colada granola, chocolate dipped  dried pineapple and a chocolate covered macaroon.  Even after all the lunch food I couldn’t stay away from the macaroon – it was SO good and I definitely need to find more of these before we leave and recreate it at home!  I couldn’t decide whether I liked the gooey inner section or the nice and crunch outer section the best…

The drive up the canyon was a bit scary.  We had to ascend 4500+ feet in elevation to reach the top.  The views were all breathtaking and I loved the red dirt color mixed with the greens from the trees.

At the top lookout there was a hiking pathway that went out for more views.  We put on our hiking*cough*running shoes on and started down the path.  We were the same height as the clouds!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this picture.

And this is the point in the vacation where (gasp!) Kelsey does something stupid and her camera is out of commission.  After we were done hiking, we began the descent down that took like half the time… and got my stomach and head rolling!  I was happy to reach the bottom and it took awhile for my head to feel like it was sitting on straight again.  We headed to Salt Pond Beach to sit for awhile and for the parents to have some cocktails and I had grabbed my book, my beach towel and my camera to bring with me down near the ocean.  Well, somehow my camera got stuck in my hands and unbeknownst to be began continually turning itself on with its lens hitting my book/hand over and over again.  Needless to say, it had a lens error.  I have had enough cameras in my day to know this is common with point and shoots and normally you just have to turn them off and when they come to life again the lens resets itself and you’re back in operation.  Well, that was definitely not the case here!

The lens refused to go in and stayed out.  I tried taking the battery out, taking the memory card out, letting them both stay out for a long stretch of time and nothing worked.  My beach time was definitely not a happy time for me because I had somehow managed to break my camera that was only four days old.  Seriously, who does that?  Well, we watched the sunset and then headed back toward our condo to make dinner there.  On the way home we stopped at Walmart to get a few things, including some chocolate macadamia nut ice cream with dry roasted + salted macadamias for on top.

Dinner (somehow I managed to wait until after dinner for ice cream!) was a brown rice tortilla with hummus, a hard boiled egg, turkey and papaya seed dressing with carrots and a few rice chex on the side.  It was nice to have a simple dinner at the condo rather than a heavy meal!  Ice cream, of course, for dessert.  I had wild plans of making kahlua mudslides, but Walmart only had a big bottle of Kahlua for $20.  No thank you, I will just have to get one out this week!

And I have absolutely no clue how he did it, but my dad got my camera to at least function!  The lens was really stuck out, so he somehow twisted it back enough to get it to latch on to go in and out.  It definitely took a little bit, but it appears to be working and hopefully will last until the end of vacation!  It seems like there is some other issue with the camera however because the inner piece of the lens is dented.  Luckily, it’s still under warranty so it will be sent in to Canon when we return to get a fully functioning camera again.  But I cannot even express my joy in having my camera back, even if it is only temporarily!  I am absolutely loving how the pictures are turning out and can’t imagine not having it along for the rest of Hawaii, but I guess we will see how long it can last and how nicely I can treat it from now until then!

kauai day 3: hanalai + a foodies paradise

After we got back home from the Sugar Mill Run, it was definitely time for breakfast! We got a box of gluten free Bisquick at the store. It didn’t have the healthiest of ingredients since it provided zero protein or fiber, so we also got some millet and buckwheat groats to throw in the batter. Sister had also brought some chia seeds along, so those three things combined with the Bisquick mix made a perfectly suitable breakfast!

Some of Sweet Marie’s granola might also have been put on the pancakes before they were flipped – I love granola in pancakes. If you’ve never tried it, you have to!

Served with Passion Fruit Coconut Syrup, some bacon and extra granola! I couldn’t even finish all of these because they were so filling – even though I wanted to because they were so good. We will definitely be making these again on the trip :).

After we were done with breakfast and were showered, we headed up north to Kilauea Beach lighthouse. You normally have to pay to get to the lookout and to see the lighthouse closer, but it was free today for Veterans Day – thanks Veterans!

The views were gorgeous.

 

After the lighthouse and more driving, we ended up near Lappert’s Ice Cream when we were starting to get hungry again.

I got a sundae with kona coffee + chocolate macadamia nut ice creams, banana, hot fudge, macadamia nuts, whip cream and a cherry. So good!

From the ice cream we headed to go work it off. Our destination? Driving all the way to the end of the road and then hike up the trail there. Don’t you just love Hawaiian directions? So descriptive… Well, we ended up going all the way to the end of the road and there was a busy beach and hiking trail calling our names! Mom had forgotten shoes for hiking so she stayed on the beach while Dad, Kinley and I went up and up and up. We were told it was 2 miles to some waterfalls… but the sign said 4 and we were definitely not prepared for an 8 mile hike that would take 3-4 hours, so we set off to the first and second lookout points listed on the sign – a Beach View and a Coast Viewpoint (.5 miles away).

The hike was quite treacherous. It was very steep, rocky, and slick in a few spots. Kinley and I wore our Five Fingers and they were just a hit on the trail haha – almost everyone we went by just had to comment and ask if they were good hiking shoes… and that was quite humorous since we so do NOT look like hikers, especially in our clothes for the day! The first lookout was a breathtaking view of the beach down below.

And the second was a double view – one side of the beach (although much higher up!), and the other side was the coastline. Everyone up there took turns taking pictures of each other so we got one of the three of us ;).

The hike probably took us 40ish minutes I would say, and it left us famished. We headed to a beach so the parents could have a quick cocktail (and apparently another huge hike since the beach we decided on had a huge trail to get to it) and then went back closer to our condo to to out for dinner at a place we had a coupon for in our resort welcome packet, Lemongrass Grill Seafood Bar. I started the meal with a cocktail – one with Malibu coconut rum, guava, passionfruit and one other juice blended with ice and topped with Bacardi 151. Probably one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

For dinner Kinley and I (thank goodness) both got the Guava BBQ Ribs. We asked if it was gluten free and the waitress checked on the sauce, and said it was as long as we got it on a bed of rice rather than their potatoes. That was perfectly fine for both of us! They were the absolute best, fall of the rib ribs I’ve ever had and the BBQ sauce was spectacular. The jasmine rice might have even been the best rice I’ve had. And there was even broccoli slaw. We might have to go back to this restaurant to eat this meal again, because I seriously cannot think of a better meal that I have ever had – and it was so easily made gluten free!

After we got home from the best dinner ever, it was definitely time for the hot tub again. My body was sore from the 10k, hike, beach hike, and all the other random walks and strolls throughout the day. Good thing we won’t have to get up quite so early tomorrow morning!

race recap: old koloa sugar mill run 10k

We happened to find a run/walk that was happening when we were going to be on the beautiful island of kauai.  The Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run had a 10 mile, 10k and 5k option.  Sister and I opted for the 10k and the parents were talked into participating in the 5k ;).

It’s the end of week 4 of marathon training for me, which means I am 1/3 of the way done – absolutely crazy since it seems like no time has gone by!  I knew this race was in our plans when I made it so I included it on my training plan.  This 10k was my third 10k overall, and the 2nd since I have started my training.  With being somewhat discouraged at my time for the last run, I needed to rethink my priorities and remember that it is not about speed at this point for me, but just the fact that I am/will be running longer distances than I ever have before and I know that is going to wear on me and my legs.

I wanted this to be a stress-free run and finding out the course was no earphones helped quite a bit since I left my entire iPod at home – so I wouldn’t have music or my Nike+ to figure out my pace.  On the way to the race I did think it would have been nice to have, but it was too late at that point so I would just go technology free for the 6.2 miles!

In the morning I had a pre-race breakfast of rice cakes, pb2 and strawberry-guava jam (so good!) and some Kona coffee.  I got up almost 2 hours before we had to leave to give me time to get ready, eaten and settled before setting off for the race.  We left at 6am and had a half hour drive to the sugar plantation.  We got there right on time and found a spot along with all of the other runners.  We had plenty of time to stand around, take pictures and use the restroom before we had to line up by the starting line.

 

Once we were ready to start I took off, attempting to keep it easy and start out slow so I wouldn’t lose steam halfway through like I did during the Haunted Hustle.  I did start slowly, but then I heard someone with Britney blaring out of their phone for the “no earphones” rule and had to speed up to get by.  There was no way I was going to be able to run to crackly Britney when the sights were to pretty – I just wanted to zone out in peace!  Around the 3rd mile the course took us past the Old Koloa Sugar Mill.  The run was rising at that point so it made pictures a little tricky (although these pictures are all from Sister since I left my new camera in the car so I wouldn’t end up dropping it!).

It was around this time I ended up running by 2 ladies who were going just a bit quicker than me.  I figured it would be helpful to use them to help me pace to see if that would motivate me and help me push to the finish, especially since I was running in a brand new location and climate.  A little before the turnaround point I passed one of the ladies but still had a bit to go on the other.  I obviously had no idea what pace I was going or what they were going (or if they were even good at pacing themselves haha).  It went back and forth a bit for me and the one, and then I passed her one more time and she said “good job”, which ended up being the last time either one of us passed one another.  Now it was time to go after the other lady.

I know I was probably pissing her off because after the half way I ended up taking a few walking breaks, and then start running.  This method actually made me faster than the second lady when I was running, but slower when walking so it went back and forth a bit (sorry lady!).  I eventually came out with about a mile of the race left to go and she didn’t pass me again.  The course itself was hilly and quite sunny, I was breaking a good sweat and was definitely working hard but knew my speed was not very fast and I was definitely nearing the end of what I had in me!

With around 1/4 mile or so left to go, Sister actually came running the other way since she it a ton faster than me, and ran with me at that point to help with the motivation.  Jingle lady then came up – I had first heard her at the beginning.  She had a Nathan water belt on and what sounded like a dollar worth of pennies rattling in it.  I knew I was not going to run near her so I wouldn’t get annoyed, but I REALLY wanted to beat her.  I somehow managed to say this to Kinley and she asked if I wanted her to push me to the finish and take her out.

Well, she definitely pushed me and more so than I actually needed to beat the jingler, but I felt better pushing myself so much at the end!  The timing system was so old school at this race, just a one time start and then you handed the bottom part of your number to someone at the end to record.  I don’t think they’re even posted online and I am in no hurry to look, and really have no motivation to look either since it was definitely my slowest 10k.  No need for records when you’re running in paradise, right??

After the race I refueled with some pineapple (my first since getting here somehow!), and plenty of water.  We headed to the car at that point to get home and eat some breakfast to continue refueling and recovering!  On the way, Sister and I grabbed Starbucks iced coffees and a container of Horizon organic chocolate milk.  We split the chocolate milk between the two cups and I think we’re both hooked on our new favorite coffee drink!  Similar to an iced mocha but without a ton of the fake ingredients and sugar that are put in the regular syrups.

Even though it was a fairly slow 10k, I still checked off a race completed in Hawaii and feel pretty good after the fact (well actually I am exhausted beyond belief but I think that has more to do with the rest of the activities done today that I will post about next!).

kauai day 2: spouting horn + po’ipu beach

I woke up by myself at 6:15 this morning after 8+ hours of sleep.  It felt so good!  We bought the most delicious coffee last night so I had some of that to get me going.  We had Kona Hawaiian Holiday Cheer this morning that was A Blend of Fresh Coconut with Tropical Fruit and Dark Rum.  Delicious.  And only $5 on sale at Foodland!  Will be back to get more to bring home!  After coffee I went on a 2 mile walk around the property – and found the beach :).  It was so close, within 1/4 mile of our door I would say.  I can definitely get used to this.

I walked up and down the beach and took a ton of pictures because everything was so gorgeous!  And I saw a rainbow – I have a feeling this is not going to be the last one we see since we’re on the Garden Island and rain seems to be a daily occurrence.  I don’t mind the rain however because it makes the intermittent blue skies feel even more special and might help to make a natural sun barrier for part of the day that’ll be good for my fair and easy to burn skin.

When I got back I had a breakfast of Chobani strawberry yogurt with a half of a banana and some Sweet Marie’s gluten free granola along with a half a Sweet Marie’s Mango Macadamia Muffin on the side.  I attempted to connect to the internet with no avail… hopefully it starts working soon so it’s not so pesky for me to get online.

After we ate, we leisurely got ready since we didn’t have any time constraints.  We headed down to the pool around 11, cocktails in hand!  POG + rum is absolutely delicious.  I first heard of POG the last time we went to hawaii, it’s Pineapple Orange Guava juice and is basically the best juice on the planet… and it really needs to come home to the mainland!  We just sat around the pool for a half hour or so and then headed into town to grab some lunch.

We ended up at Mariachi’s Authentic Mexican restaurant.  I ended up with a Chile Verde Taco Salad minus the flour tortilla.  It had a bed of lettuce, the Chile Verde, guacamole, tomato, beans, sour cream and a little cheese.  It was delicious.  I also had a few tortilla chips on the site.  The family got margaritas, but I had forgotten my ID at the condo and they weren’t believing I was over 21… seriously it’s been years since I have been that young!  I wasn’t torn up however since tequila is not my favorite.  After we ate we headed to Spouting Horn on the southern side of the island.

Spouting Horn is a lava tube that is right on the ocean, every once in awhile water floods in and it spurts it back up and makes an angry noise.  It was pretty cool but it was not cooperating for pictures very well – it was definitely camera shy haha.

After that we drove right up the road to Po’ipu Beach for some sun + relaxing time.  It was a gorgeous beach and we even got some snorkeling time in.  I don’t think I had ever snorkeled in the ocean before, but it was awesome going over the coral and seeing the neon colored schools of fish.  Not sure if there’s more snorkeling to come in the next week, but I am glad that I was able to at least do it once!

After we had gotten enough sun for the time being, we left the beach and drove back north, past out condo and to Papaya Natural Foods store.  It was hiding in the back of a strip mall, but we found it and got a few goodies including Macadamia Cashew Nut Butter.  I was hoping we’d find a deal around for Mac Nut Butter, but no luck again.  Sister and I decided to splurge since we are on vacation and got the Artisana brand.  We got a few other things and then headed back to the condo for dinner.

We made steaks on the grill by our condo, along with a side of kale chips and yams/sweet potato things.  We weren’t entirely sure what these things were – they tasted like a mix between a regular potato and a sweet potato almost, and I loved them!  Along with a side of ketchup, of course.  We also shared a chocolate cookie from Sweet Marie’s that tasted like a brownie.

 

Sister and I had a little hot tub time tonight after some frustrating computer time.  My computer refuses to connect to the internet.  The wifi has full strength and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but it will not go to the login page where i can put in my password.  What is going on?!  It’s so annoying and I hate not being able to chill out with the internet at night…  I hope it starts working soon but I don’t really know if that’ll be an option…

All in all it was a good first full day in paradise!