Aloha! Friday Favorites – Hawaii

Happy Friday!  I have been absent for a long time – life just got in the way and I haven’t devoted the time to the blog.  For today’s edition of Friday Favorites, I wanted to share some stories and photos from our recent trip to Hawaii.  Hawaii is one of our all time favorite places; this was our second trip, and God willing, will definitely not be our last.  We have only visited the island of Oahu, which we love.  Next time we may try a couple days on another island, but we love Oahu so much, we will always keep going back there.  The above pic is the view from our room at the Trump International in Waikiki, truly an iconic beach.

Imagine our surprise when we came across these Hawaiian Monk Seals while walking on the beach one morning!  They are endangered and therefore you are not allowed to approach them, and the beach patrol sets up cones to establish a safe perimeter.  We ended up seeing them each day in Waikiki, and being animal lovers, this was definitely one of the highlights!

We really enjoyed the hotel at night also.  The view looking back towards Honolulu with all the lights was breathtaking.  The lounge was also lovely, open air with great happy hour specials.  Those wasabi peanuts were the bomb!

Instead of getting big sit down dinners, we opted to graze our way through various places, taking advantage of happy hour specials, on both beverages and appetizers/small plates.  We visited the Oahu location of Maui Brewing Company, which had great live music and the wonderful island breezes coming through the open air venue.  We also discovered “frozen” beer, Kirin to be exact.  This is a glass of Kirin (a Japanese beer) topped with basically a Kirin slushy.  This was a fun twist on a glass of beer, and the happy hour price was great.

I thought this Crown & Ivy top with pineapples was perfect for a Hawaiian trip!  The colors and pattern fit in perfectly with the tropical vibe of the island.  This particular top is sold out, but they have so so many cute tops, many on sale, so please check it out if you are still looking for some additions to your summer wardrobe.

The time came to check out of the Trump International and move on to our next location.  For our last morning, we got up early, took a long walk around Waikiki, and ordered room service breakfast to enjoy on our balcony, taking in that view one more time.

Enroute to our next destination, we went to Kualoa Ranch, for a horseback ride!  We had pre-booked this, and it was well worth every penny.  The one-hour tour went up on the ridge above the ranch, and had amazing views of the ocean and Chinaman’s Hat.  The guides were very friendly and patient, and the horses well-trained and basically knew the routine with very little guidance.  Kualoa Ranch offers many different types of tours, including a movie set tour that highlights some of the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World filming sites.  Afterwards, we made our way up to the North Shore, another area of Oahu we love.  The sleepy surf town of Haleiwa has fun little surf and souvenir shops.  And of course, no trip to the North Shore would be complete without a stop at one of the shrimp trucks!  The second pic above is the view we had while eating a plate of traditional North Shore shrimp and rice for lunch.

Finally we reached our “home” for the rest of the week, Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, located in the Ko ‘Olina area of the town of Kapolei.  We are Disney Vacation Club members, and Aulani is a property included in the DVC program (you can also stay on cash if you aren’t members).  It was also our second time here, and it was just as beautiful as we remembered.  The pool area is simply spectacular, and the entire grounds are meticulous.  One of my favorite features is the Koi pond located near the open air Olelo Lounge.

We enjoyed having breakfast with Mickey and Minnie at Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the resort.  It is so fun to enjoy some Disney magic in such a beautiful location.

And who can resist Hawaiian shave ice with Mickey ears!  Enjoying it overlooking the beautiful private lagoon makes it that much better.  I think it is a known fact that any food shaped like Mickey automatically tastes better!

Unfortunately, all too soon it was time to head home to North Carolina.  We again got up early and took a long walk around the Ko ‘Olina development, seeing the other resorts and marina.  This picture is from the lagoon, looking back towards Aulani.

I know this was a long post, and if you made it here to the end, thank you!  Trust me, I had a hard time keeping it this short, as there were so many great experiences and photos, it was difficult to narrow it down.  If you have visited Hawaii, you know what I am talking about, and if you haven’t, what is keeping you from going?

Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!