Waikiki Staycation, Oahu Fall Bucket List, Holo Kūkini Run in Kualoa, Manoa Valley Theatre, 5 Favorite Things

Life lately is a balance of un-schedulable moments – to plan and not to plan. As someone who typically has my years of big trips (booked out to 2025) and daily routines penciled in, it’s been a transition. Greg’s current job has encouraged me to be flexible, or at least that’s the non-pessimistic way of looking at it.

Without sharing any unnecessary detail, one day, he’s home, and then he’s not for long (or short) periods, and we have zero communication when he’s gone. It’s sporadic and uncontrollable (aka unplannable), and for a mega Virgo like myself, who falls in line with a stereotypical write-up of “Virgo traits,” like the need to plan everything, this is an adjustment period. But throw away all the bad things about the current work-life balance, and it’s been a solid lesson in flexibility and keeping a constructive, positive perspective. When you meld your life with someone, relying on each other for various tasks and responsibilities, and that person is forcibly in-active in those things, it also becomes a shift in independence.

Now, I lead myself back to the reason for sharing the brief description of life lately, and that’s to say Greg unexpectedly came home in late September. We took his unexpected arrival and had a Waikiki staycation.

Waikiki Staycation

Where We Stayed | ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

Because I was never planning to make this a travel post, I did a terrible job taking photos of the hotel, but it is gorgeous (take my word for it or visit their website). Regardless of my lack of planning, I decided to highlight why we loved our stay and our experience with ‘Alohalani, and maybe you’ll plan your own vacation/staycation there too.

First and foremost, there are many dining options, including one in the hotel lobby, which is the star you won’t miss, as it displays a two-story 280,000-gallon oceanarium housing captivating Hawaiian native reef fish. Stunning!

Our favorite dining: When seeking a truly delicious place to eat, consider Momosan, with delectable ramen that infuses traditional Japanese and modern American flavors (the noodles.. chef’s kiss). You’ll want to continue going back for more. If I didn’t know how desperately I’d miss Thai food, I could eat ramen for the rest of my life, especially that created by Chef Morimoto.

Our Activities: It may be because I live on Oahu and have frequented Waikiki numerous times or because the resort had so much to offer; whatever the reason, this was one time I felt content relaxing onsite, soaking up all the amenities, and enjoying the overall luxurious simplicity of the experience.

Treating ourselves to a few nights in Waikiki was the ideal staycation. The city side of the island completely contrasts the windward side we call home. Plus, it was the perfect environment for Greg and me to reconnect after he’d been gone for as long as he was.

Greg has always desired a vacation focused on relaxation. I’m usually an over-planner and want to do everything, so I’m known to jam-pack our travel itineraries. This time, I aimed my sites at something more conducive to Greg’s wishes, focusing on unwinding and reconnecting.

For my travelers looking to book their trip to Waikiki, I can’t recommend ‘Alohilani Resort more.

Aside from the items I listed above, ‘Alohilani offers an in-house 24-hour “Island Club” gym and a spa with classic treatments plus traditional Hawaiian healing, like Lomilomi message.

The resort is a luxurious tropical oasis in the heart of the city; Less fluffly said, it is an optimal location for those looking to explore Waikiki. The staff was fantastic. The hotel also offers events, like lei making and morning yoga by the pool.

5 Fun Things To Do in Waikiki

If you haven’t been to Waikiki before or Oahu in general, here are five fun things I think are perfect for first-timers traveling to the island:

  1. Sunset Catamaran Cruise
  2. Surf Lessons
  3. Shop on Kalakaua Avenue and Interaction Market Place
  4. Dining | There are many unbelievable dining locations in the downtown area; I couldn’t possibly list them all here (sounds like a great future travel post).
  5. Diamond Head Hike

Holo Kūkini Run in Kualoa

Kualoa has to be one of my favorite places on the island, with the captivating classic Jurassic Park mountain range (Ko’olou mountain range and, more specifically, kānehoalani). I’m continuously in awe of the Ko’olau mountains, which I’m so lucky to call home; their beauty will never be lost on me, and it’s one element that makes Oahu so unique. 

I’ve visited the valleys of Kualoa Ranch a few ways, including the ATV tour they offer, but my favorite is always and will always be when they open the property for runs. I’ve done the Spartan race (which we plan to do again in 2024) and a few 5k’s at Kualoa, and there is nothing like it.

This is my long-winded way of saying that if you can visit Kualoa Ranch in a fun-run or race capacity, I recommend taking advantage of it, and if you’ve always wanted to do a Spartan race, there’s no better place.

Manoa Valley Theatre | Sweeney Todd

Manoa Valley Theatre never disappoints, and their “Sweeney Todd” production was a stand-alone amazement. I love the film so much that I have the soundtrack on my phone. So, admittedly, it was hard not to sing along with the actors, but I managed it (lip-syncing lyrics in my husband’s face doesn’t count against me). The production was a perfect ending to September and introduction to October (aka spooky season).

Oahu Fall Bucket List

This fall bucket list was more personal, featuring a few universally applicable recommendations. Therefore, I incorporated my Oahu Fall Bucket List into my September recap rather than giving it a separate post. However, if you live on island or plan to visit Oahu during the fall, snag up all these recommendations for your own bucket list fun.

  1. Waimānalo Rustic Nights & pumpkin patch
  2. See a show at Manoa Valley Theatre
  3. Sunset picnic on the beach
  4. Banana bread from Kahuku Farms
  5. Horror Fest at Ward Theatre
  6. Pumpkin painting
  7. Koko Head sunrise hike
  8. First homemade pumpkin spice latte
  9. Host a Halloween high tea
  10. Design costume for block party
  11. Complete a Halloween decor craft
  12. Horror movie marathon
  13. One movie themed dinner (maybe Hotel Transylvania)
  14. Fall-flavor donut box from Holey Grail Donuts

5 Favorite Things

1. Champions movie | A feel-good sports comedy that, yes, follows some of the familiar sports drama and heroes’ journey tropes, but with unique charm. This movie is one of my favorites of 2023 – a film that just feels like a warm hug.

2. Tori’s Potato Salad by Mississippi Vegan | Greg and I met Timothy Pakron, author of the Mississippi Vegan cookbook and blog, in 2022 when he was a guest speaker at VegFest Colorado. He was charming and transparent about his experience writing a cookbook and his journey to veganism and blogging. He made us laugh, and of course, we bought his cookbook post panel—one of the best spontaneous purchases ever. I haven’t cooked my way through the book yet, but the things I have made, including this potato salad (four times), are flavorful and fun. If you’re not into potato salad, check out his full blog: Mississippi Vegan

3. Angie Bellemare | I’ve followed Angie Bellemare for well over a year. She dedicates her YouTube channel to lifestyle and inspiration, which is right up my alley of entertainment. I particularly love watching her videos during the holidays, when she shares all things decor, activities, and holiday charm.

4. Give It To Me Straight Podcast + Alex and Jon’s hilarious instagram reels | A comedic podcast with real-life relationship questions submitted anonymously by listeners, Alex and Jon do as promised, give it to them straight with often times quirky and always entertaining responses.

5. Hogwarts Legacy game | With the exception of Mortal Combat and the occasional Sims binge, I’m not a big video game gal. However, when I first heard the Hogwarts Legacy game was coming out, I knew I wanted to try it. Fast forward 8-months since its release, and with the encouragement of my husband (who’s already completed the game), I finally picked up the controller. For any Harry Potter fan who enjoys video games (even in the slightest), I can attest this game is fantastic (although you all have probably already played it). The details are breathtaking, and the enchantment of getting lost in Hogwarts is just fun.

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New Website

I started a new website!
This is not a replacement but an addition. I wanted to create another space dedicated to other forms of writing, including poetry, personal essays, and short stories. I hope you check it out.


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