Archive for the 'Hawaii' Category


Oahu PanoramaClick image to see more detail.

What have we been up to the last month? Why haven’t I posted? We’ve been having way too much fun wrapping up the school year and jetting off to an island paradise…or two…or four.

Stay tuned for more details!

…when we get a chance. 😉


Missing the islands…

Every once in a while it hits me.

I miss the islands so much my heart aches.


Today, I spruced things up on FB and updated my twitter avatar to be more island-like. (The header here at The Casual Perfectionist, after all, is Claire holding the sun on Cozumel, so it shall remain as is.)

One of these days we’ll make it back to the islands. (Maui, Kauai, or Cozumel…I won’t be picky). The fact that a trip is not officially on the calendar (yet) makes me antsy, but that’s okay.

One of these days it will be, and my heart will sigh a happy sigh.

Kauai Morning

Our first morning in Kauai – November 16th, at Kauai Beach Resort, east shore. (We stayed there before heading to the south shore for a week.)

With a name like Maha’ulepu, we just called it Silky Sand Beach with the Roaring Trail.

I took a picture of this sign so that we could remember how to spell the name of our favorite beach: Maha ‘ulepu.

This beach area is on the map of Kauai, but we’d never ventured there before. The last time my husband and I were on the island, back in 2010, we did a lot of exploring for a week, but for some reason, we never checked out this part of the south shore.

It was fantastic!

The roads to get there were a bit tricky, but nothing we were nervous about…especially in a rental car. 😉

The sand on this beach felt like silk. Seriously…it was incredible. We had fun renaming various beaches around Kauai. This one was Silky Beach (with the Roaring Trail), and another was Brown Sugar Beach. You get the picture.

Wait. There was a roaring trail? Yes, there was, and it scared us half to death!

We followed the well-worn hiking trail along the coast line, and the views were just incredible.

In one part, you can take in all the colors of the ocean, and as you’re gazing breathlessly out to sea, little do you know there is a blowhole of sorts behind you, off the trail on the opposite side. It would scream with a hissing roar at intervals. It was so shocking!

As I mentioned, the sand was the softest we’ve ever felt (hence our nickname for it being silky), yet the rocks were sharp and craggy.

It was such a contrast of soft and jagged, dangerous and beautiful.

We spent hours exploring here, playing in the sand with our shadows while hiking the dunes…

Shadow Portraits

…frolicking in the pools left by the lowering tide and then watching the waves rise to reclaim our playground.

Yes, this is real. Unaltered.

These are the pools from the above photo.

…and taking it all in, the peace of the island seeping into every pore.


It was hard to leave.*

*Needless to say, that was a recurring theme of our Kauai Vacation.

Our shadows play with the wind, waves, mountains, sea.

The mornings on Kauai are magical. I’m not a morning person on the mainland. I could see that changing if I lived on an island paradise…maybe, just maybe.

East Shore of Kauai – Kauai Beach Resort – Lihue, HI – November 2012

I look at this photo my hubby took, and my heart is happy. Our shadows play with the wind, waves, mountains, sea.



We’re back from a week in Kauai!

I thought it was hard to leave the island last time, and this time is proving to be even worse.

We took an overnight flight last night, and after what seems like days of traveling, we stopped at a restaurant on the way home. I wasn’t offered a flower for my hair. The view of ocean was completely obstructed. I’m wearing pants.

This version of reality is just awful!

Needless to say, this was one of the most fantastic vacations we’ve had, and in true Casual Perfectionist style, it was a fun mix of relaxation and awesome adventures.  I’ll be reporting back on all of those and more in the coming days.

In the meantime, Aloha!


I love this photo. Right now, it’s the “cover photo” of my personal Facebook page (I change that often, but this one spoke to me, so I put it up last week, and as of the time of this post, it’s still there…). It’s also the background on my phone.

We took this photo in Hawaii, on the island of Maui. We’d stopped to explore the Black Sand Beach (yes, there is one on Maui!) while exploring the road to Hana.

It’s at a park called Wai’anapanapa.

Just saying it is fun.

Side Note: This weekend, Claire was looking through a calendar we got from a conservation organization. March’s picture is a beautiful shot of this very Black Sand Beach! I showed Claire the photos WE took of that beach, and when she saw they were the same, she was in awe! “Look! I see those three palm trees, right there!” Fantastic!


This was a trail we would have never found if it weren’t for letterboxing. We were thrilled to discover that there was a letterbox hidden at this very park, and the clues seemed easy enough. Needless to say, the start to this particular letterboxing adventure was just as rocky as the shoreline.  We could not find this trail. We did not understand what some of the clues meant.  None of it was making any sense. We traipsed off in the totally wrong direction, all the while pretending we were on the right track.  We tried to force meaning out of the things around us.  “Surely this is what they meant!?  Maybe they meant that!?”  No.  When you’re right, the answers to the clues slip into place.  Usually.

We knew the rules, but decided to blatantly disregard them.

Although completely frustrated but not wanting to give up completely, we decided to stop for lunch and try again.

After a bite to eat at the park, we decided to try one more time. This time, everything fell into place.  (We also agreed on how WE would have written the starting point of the clue, but that’s neither here nor there.  Details, details.)  With this renewed energy, we found it!  It’s one of the coolest trails we’ve ever explored.

The picture doesn’t show how dark and mysterious this all was; the camera has lightened it up quite a bit. The canopy was so low that my husband had to crouch while under some of it.  It was so thick, you could barely see the bright blue sky through it.

We’d stumbled into another world.

Steps worn by other adventurers and the passage of time.
Such a great reward for not giving up, for going back to the beginning and trying again.

This photo inspires me in so many ways.

My view. Kinda.

I see this view every day, all day. Well, every time I look at my phone, that is. I’ve been changing up the picture on Eva‘s “wallpaper” every now and then with pictures that make me smile.

This one certainly does.

I took this photo in Kauai when we were there in October. It was just steps from our hotel room.

When I look at this, I can smell the wonderfulness that is Hawaii. I can feel the warm sand between my toes. I can feel the soft breeze playing with my hair. I can hear the calming yet exhilarating waves.

I could get used to this view.  Yes, I’d miss Colorado dearly, but I have a feeling the soft ocean breezes would dry my tears quite nicely.  😉

Needless to say, every time I look at my phone, I smile.

Thanks to Pele!

If you’ve spent any time around me in real life, you’re probably tired of hearing about Hawaii, but I really haven’t shared much online yet. We went in October for two weeks, in honor of our 10 year wedding anniversary. Claire stayed home with the grandparents.

A grand time was had by all.

My husband and I didn’t want to leave Hawaii. We looked at each other and said, “Let’s just send for Claire and the kitties and just stay!” We weren’t kidding.

But, like good little travelers, we showed up at the airport on the last day of our trip and used our return tickets home.

This trip was magnificent. Hawaii truly is a paradise, and I can’t wait to go back.

Today, I got word that there is some exciting volcanic activity at Volcano National Park, and it’s prompted me to share some of our own adventures.

One of the most exhilarating experiences we had was the day trip to The Big Island to see the volcano.

We used an outfitter, and they couldn’t guarantee that we’d see lava flow. It’s worse than predicting the weather, and they didn’t want to get our expectations out of whack.

We knew we’d be able to hike in the lava fields.  We did!

Can you see me hiking with the plume from the lava flowing into the ocean in the distance?

Shadow portraits! The sun kept hiding behind the plumes, so it was challenging, but we got a shot!

We knew we’d be able to see a volcano (and hoped we could get relatively close).  We did!

Mauna Loa, The World's Largest Active Volcano

Scientific Instruments! Cool! We totally dig this kind of thing!

Would we be able to see lava flowing? Would one of the main reasons we traveled to the Big Island come to fruition? Time would tell. With our fingers crossed, the sun slipped farther and farther to the west, and Pele smiled upon us! We got to see lava flow! We got to get right up close! (Well, roughly 35 feet) We could feel the heat, and the sight of new earth being created right in front of us changed us forever.

You can tell things are exciting when all the tour guides are ecstatic. They were saying that they hadn’t seen such a wonderful display in over 6 months.

It was all we could have dreamed it could be.

This photo doesn't do it justice, but it warms my heart and makes it real all over again.

I can’t really describe the feeling of that moment and how it will forever be a part of me. We witnessed pure power. We witnessed raw creation. Experiencing it first hand was overwhelming and more exciting than we could have ever imagined.

And I can’t wait to go back.

It’s like déjà vu all over again.

I am not fluent in French, but I just love the way that word looks when it’s spelled:

déjà vu

Doesn’t it look like a little guy, the j for the nose? See the upraised eyebrows over the concerned look in the e and a eyes?

…but I digress.

Remember when I had coral removed from my thumb?

Well, it’s baaack. Actually, pieces of it never left. My thumb healed well, but it was still painful to bend and grip, even after the incision and stitched area healed…and that’s when I could see another piece.

So, I scheduled an appointment that would work for our schedules, and Friday I got to go under the knife again.  This time, he found another piece of coral, and possibly a fourth.  It was really hard to tell, what with all the blood.

So, I have another stitch.

…that I couldn’t get wet until Monday.

…and it looks just as gross (if not more so) than it did the first time I had coral removed.

…and I can’t use my thumb until I get the stitch out on Friday.

At least it’s just a thumb.  On my right hand.  It’s not like I’d use it much for anything.  All day.  *cough*

Hopefully this heals, and we’ll be done with it.  If any more coral is lurking, I get to meet one of the plastic surgeons in town that specializes in the removal of foreign bodies.  OH!  And!  Coral doesn’t show up on an x-ray.  True Story.

Who knew such teeny tiny pieces of coral could cause such trouble?

All this, and I still can’t wait to go back to Hawaii.  I’m plotting my return to the islands.  I think this is a sign we should have never left.  😉

I hear you Pele, LOUD AND CLEAR.