It’s Friday!!! Fridaaaaaay!

Happy Friday lovelies!

Anyone else feel like this has been a looooong week?
My Monday felt like Thursday.
(I’m sure losing an hour of sleep didn’t help either.)

Fortunately though, I’ve got fun things in store for me from here on out.
I’m heading to Tahoe for a girls weekend.

(that is not me or my friends, but you get the picture)

You’re probably thinking to yourself I’m going up
to ski or snowboard or do some other snow related sport.

And you would be wrong.

Despite going to college in Boulder, Colorado
(a school in which skiing is a way of life)
I’ve never gone enough to actually get into that.

So while all my friends would go skiing or snowboarding,
I’d be kicking back at the lodge drinking some baileys.

And that’s basically what I plan on doing this weekend.
Except this time I have a partner in crime!

While the other girls are killing it on the slopes,
My friend Erin and I will be cruising around Squaw,
making the occasional snow angel, and getting a little boozed up.
I mean, it’s St. Patrick’s day after all…

And I can’t wait.

Do you have any fun weekend plans?

JustineMarch 15, 2013 - 6:29 am

This sounds like a blast! I live pretty close to a couple of mountains here in Oregon, but I never really got into skiing or snowboarding. I’m too paranoid of getting hurt! I would love to try snow shoeing though! The lodge sounds like it’s going to be equally enjoyable!

nancy @ adore to adornMarch 15, 2013 - 10:38 am

that sounds so fun! That would be me too btw…I don’t know how to ski or snowboard so I’d be the one kicking back with some drinks. =)

MoMarch 15, 2013 - 10:45 am

That sounds waaaaay cooler than weekend of packing. I can’t wait to live closer to Tahoe!

Have a great time and enjoy some Baileys and a hot tub for me!

AliceMarch 15, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Yeeah, I’m not a skier either. In my defence, this is because I do not live anywhere remotely near snow. But if I did ski, I think I’d still prefer to sit in the lodge drinking Baileys…!! Have a lovely time! xx

RIP Google Reader

(warning: this is a very melodramatic post)

Yesterday blog readers around the world learned some sad, sad news.

Google Reader is retiring.

As of July 1st, it will be no more.
Gone. Retired. Dead to the world.

Alas, I love my google reader,
so I was heartbroken by this announcement.

I’m embarrassed to admit it,
but upon hearing this news I went into a slight panic.
For years I’ve been following along my favorite bloggers adventures
through the lens of google reader.

So what am I supposed to do now?
Actually visit the blog itself?
Subscribe via email?
Switch to a new platform?
Woe is me!

Oh the drama!

Anyway, in all seriousness, this news did bum me out.
I’m sure plenty of people out there are already working on new reader alternatives,
and I’m sure bloglovin’ is thrilled at this news.
All will be fine, but I’m still sad to see it go.
Insiders are also saying that this means
no more google friend connect as well,
which makes sense since it was a feature of google reader.

That news doesn’t mean much to me since I’m on wordpress,
but I’m sure all you blogger ladies are not too happy about it.

Oh google, why do you have to torture us so?

Are you as devastated as I am by this news?
If not, how do you read your blogs?

ChelseaMarch 14, 2013 - 1:26 pm

Personally, I use Bloglovin’. I prefer it over the Google reader.

Brianne HeapeMarch 14, 2013 - 1:34 pm

I’m still at a loss myself. I’m not sure what I will do now, although Blog Lovin’ is looking like my next option. :) I’d love to find out what you decide to do!

Allison @ Lawfully LostMarch 14, 2013 - 2:01 pm

Uggggh, worst news ever, eh?! I’m so bummed. Like you, it’s where all my blogs are, and I’ve been using it for years. I have my finger’s crossed that Google is coming up with something bigger and better…otherwise, why would they just kill it off?

SerenaMarch 14, 2013 - 2:48 pm

@Brianne – It seems like everyone is moving everything to bloglovin, which I just don’t love as much as other readers. Right now, it looks like engineers are working on which should function identical to google reader. That’s probably the direction I’m moving in.

nancy @ adore to adornMarch 14, 2013 - 3:29 pm

well, to put it frankly, this news actually kind of…just…pissed me off.
I mean…why after all these years force your readers to switch platforms? Why make the hassle? It feels so obnoxious to me. I know tech always changes and moves and yes, we should all just keep up. But…seriously? GR.
Perhaps I don’t need to be this aggravated by it but it’s still…SO. FRUSTRATING.

Ugh I was so annoyed when I found out that its nonexistence happens this summer. I used Google Reader for subscribing not just to Blogger blogs but WordPress, Typepad, and other domains. I already had a Bloglovin account and I must say that I love it so far. I like the layout and it wasn’t too difficult to upload all of the blogs I already follow :)

StephanieMarch 14, 2013 - 5:29 pm

I was devastated by this news. I’ve switched to feedly since this morning and I’m starting to like it. It’s really easy to important everything you have in Reader, it literally took less than 3 minutes.

I’m really bummed about that Google Friend Connect news!

MoMarch 15, 2013 - 10:48 am

I am sooooo blogger unsavvy , so all of this confuses me. I actually can’t even figure out how to follow you, that’s how bad I am. So I’m pretty sure this will take me months to figure out. Bah.

8 Things I Decided Are Just Not Worth the Stress

Print from Rock the Custard Prints Etsy Shop

There’s a series going around on Huffington Post about stressing less, in which multiple HuffPo writers have shared a list of things that they have decided are just “not worth the stress.” Some of them are serious, like “worrying that I’m overreacting or having irrational feelings about something,” while others are less so, such as stressing over their disdain for brown rice, “I can’t get on the brown rice bandwagon, and I’ve decided to just allow myself the periodic pleasure of white rice,” or worrying about how much cheese they eat.

One thing I’m very very good at is stressing out about things that are either out of my control, or that in the grand scheme of things just don’t matter. So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make my own “stress less” list. There are plenty of things that are worth stressing out and worrying about…. like what goes into your body, staying active and healthy, making bad financial decisions, being a good friend, etc… but I’m pretty talented at stressing myself out about a whole slew things of things that are just not worth the time, energy, or, well, the stress.

So here you have it…

8 Things I Decided Are Just Not Worth the Stress

1.  Feeling guilty (or weird) about my blog. This is something I’ve been working on since this post. If you don’t have a blog, you might be thinking to yourself, “you stress out about your blog? How stupid is that!” but the answer is yes, I do. Am I posting enough? Am I growing my readership as fast as others are? Do I even really care about growing my readership? Why did that post only get two comments? Did my tone come off wrong? Do people in real life think I’m narcissistic for having a blog? Do I share too much? Am I not sharing enough? Am I turning people off by throwing in the occasional bad word? Along with many more, these are all thoughts that go through my head on a weekly basis. Sad but true. I love my blog and because I love it, sometimes I worry about it. I feel bad when I don’t give my blog the attention I think it deserves, and I sometimes worry about coming off wrong in my posts. But, for those of you that said “that is stupid!” you are right! It is stupid! I blog because I like to, plain and simple. While I should continually aim to post content I’m proud of (which admittedly doesn’t happen all the time), I shouldn’t care so much about everything else. Which leads me to the next thing…

2.  Worrying about what people think of me. Okay guys. I have a confession to make. Try as I might not to, I care about what other people think of me. I know admitting that makes me sound insecure, but it’s true. And.. gasp… I want people to like me. I do. When I find out someone doesn’t like me, it hurts my feelings, and sometimes I take it too personally. This one is easier said than done, and it’s a work in progress, but I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin than I used to be. I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and there are plenty of people out there who like me and I think I’m awesome, so why worry about those that don’t? Not worth the stress.

3.  Getting irritated when someone tags me in an unflattering picture on facebook. The other morning I signed on to facebook and saw that I been tagged in a photo from Hawaii.  I was in a bathing suit, in a very unflattering position. I looked like I had some major thunder thighs, and I was NOT happy that I had been tagged. I  immediately untagged myself, but it had already accumulated quite a few likes (wtf?), and for a good 30 minutes I was annoyed that that picture of me existed on the interwebs and that so many people had seen it (mostly because I am particularly insecure about my thighs).

But seriously? Who do I think I am? It’s a picture. Not life or death. I mean…. there are really no words to describe what a waste of my time focusing on something like that is. Totally not worth the stress.

4.  Our small 70s style apartment. Kevin and I have lived in our apartment for over three years. When we first moved in, I don’t think either of us thought we would be here this long. After we got married I was adamant about moving, but it was right around that time that the SF rental also went nuts (check out this infographic for context). For us to get a bigger or nicer place, we would have to pay a good $1000 more a month, and well, a nicer place wasn’t (and isn’t) worth that to us. But, I get incredibly jealous when I visit friends who live in huge remodeled SF apartments, and I start to feel like our remodeled-in-the-70s apartment isn’t nice enough, and I start to stress about everything we should be doing to make it better. When in reality our place is pretty great. We have a two-bedroom apartment in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city, and other people in our building are paying $700 more than us a month for the exact same thing. So the fact that our kitchen looks like it was straight out of the Brady Bunch? Who cares. Not worth the stress.

5.  Feeling bad about how much TV I watch. Kevin and I watch a lot of television, and I feel like non-tv watchers are always being all judgy and giving us crap about it, telling us what a waste of time it is, how it’s rotting our brains, etc. etc., and then I always feel bad about it. But you know what? I love TV! There are a lot of great shows out there right now. Walking Dead. Breaking Bad. Downton Abbey. Game of Thrones. Girls. Homeland. Dexter. Modern Family. True Blood. And I love them all. Watching them brings joy to my life, and it’s something Kevin and I enjoy doing together. Do I need to watch the Kardashians because I’m bored or hungover on a Sunday? Probably not. But does that mean I should feel bad about it? No. I have a very active and busy life, and TV happens to be a part of it. Not worth the stress.

6.  Wrinkles. It seems like everyday I find some new sign of aging. From random sunspots to cleavage wrinkles to my first gray hair, it’s something new all the time. I don’t know if I’m just hyper-aware of everything now that I’m 30, but I’ve been less than pleased with these new developments. However, wrinkles and whatnot are a part of life. Other than taking care of my skin as best I can, there’s not much I can do about it, so I might as well just age gracefully and stop stressing out about it. Plus, doesn’t stress just cause more wrinkles? Sooooo not worth the stress.

7.  My lack of baby fever. I feel guilty that I don’t yet want kids. I want to want a baby, but right now, I just don’t, and that worries me. I stress out about my fertility and all the “what ifs” that come along with it.  And that is dumb. It will happen when it happens. Not worth the stress.

8.  Letting myself get riled up by random people on the internet. Oh man, I don’t even want to admit how often I’ve found myself sitting behind my computer with steam coming out of my ears, just because some random person posted something online that was a big fat lie. When people post stupid ignorant things, I tend to get way too emotionally involved. When Sandy Hook happened and people on twitter and facebook would make comments saying that the answer was more guns, I’d get upset. When people would post things about our heath care system that were blatantly false, I would get angry.

But what a waste of energy! Why should it bother me if someone I went to high school with but haven’t spoken to in years thinks Anne Coulter is awesome? Not worth the stress.


What are some things that you’ve decided just aren’t worth the stress?
Please share in the comments!

Or better yet, if you have a blog,
write a post about it and we can start our own “stress less” series!

P.S. Check out my friend Margaret’s stress less list here!

MargaretMarch 13, 2013 - 6:19 am

Definitely agreeing with you on 1,2,5 and 8. Especially 8…as it normally ends up with me wanting to unfriend most of my high school friends because they are the ones posting ignorant shit.

I’ll have to start thinking of my own post for this!

Michelle LimMarch 13, 2013 - 6:53 am

You have a TWO bedroom?!?! Can I move in?

We just spent the last hour looking up tiny little STUDIOS to rent for an arm and a leg! :( sigh….

But good news……..and you’re the first to know: WE WILL BE IN SAN FRAN ON MAY 17th!!!! GET EXCITED WOMAN!

jessicaMarch 13, 2013 - 7:29 am

1-3 stress me out a lot too. It’s really hard to let them go. But I always jus think- in the scheme of life does it really matter. I’m I even going to remember this in a year. And then I loosen up a bit! Great post, S!

Shanan BMarch 13, 2013 - 7:38 am

Stress is really never worth it, right? I really feel you on 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7. Another one of mine I just let go of is being embarrassed at how filthy my car always is. I live in my car and I really can’t seem to keep it cleaned out. It always has random articles of clothing, books, papers, cd’s, garbage, climbing gear and dog toys…after 8 years of feeling embarrassed and stressing about “what the state of my car says about me”, I’m ready to say I REALLY DON’T CARE! It ain’t changing unless I get a car housekeeper. :-)

Shanan BMarch 13, 2013 - 7:39 am

*Figuratively, I live in my car. Not literally. I thought it was important to clear that up. 😉

JessMarch 13, 2013 - 8:11 am

Stressed IS desserts spelled backwards! My mind is actually blown LOL, why did I not realize that before?!

Some Snapshots Blog

nancy @ adore to adornMarch 13, 2013 - 9:03 am

dang…can I say that I just about stress over most of the items on your list (with the exception of FB…I just gave up on that one haha).
It’s so weird stressing over things out of my control. I do it ALL. THE. TIME. My husband even has to remind me to stop because I just obsess. Even now…I’m thinking about all of the same things you are.
I know I shouldn’t worry about what others thing, but I kind of feel like I “have to” in order to “improve.” I don’t want to be stagnant! Yet, why should I adapt to what others are thinking of me? Isn’t that the exact opposite of being me?
Yup…that’s me…being overanalytical about everything.


AngieMarch 13, 2013 - 9:34 am

On FB require approval on anything you are tagged in that’s what I do. I’ve taken an eighth of your stress away ;).

nicole marieMarch 13, 2013 - 12:36 pm

you are so right. so many things that are not worth the worry… i definitely need to make a list like this.

and totally can relate to the apt situ. our apt in sf is like a dungeon and so run down and the kitchen and everything is kinda nasty. but the location is incredible, big enough and we have a backyard and a landlord who doesn’t really care what we do… oh and if we move we’re looking at $500 a person increase in rent! not happening.

AshMarch 13, 2013 - 1:13 pm

YES! i so needed to read this today (: gah.. i can relate to almost ALL of these points, in more ways than one..

the issue i seem to have is wanting people WHO ARE RELATED TO ME and play a HUGE role in my life, to like me… shouldn’t that just come naturally? ugh..

growing up… so hard not to stress over things, and yet, sometimes it can be so easy… i guess that’s what yoga, runs, exercise, and green tea/red wine are for?

StephanieMarch 13, 2013 - 6:22 pm

Girl, I am with you on every one of these, except I stress about our 1 bdrm with kitchen tile from the 1950s.

Allison @ Lawfully LostMarch 13, 2013 - 8:54 pm

Ok, seriously, did I write this? ‘Cause I could have, no joke. Every single thing (except maybe the baby thing, cause I don’t want any and don’t feel guilty about that yet…) is me to a T.

I was even talking to a girlfriend last week about many of the things you listed and we were coming up with strategies about how to not stress about them. Good luck! We both need it!

Camille | Planning PrettyMarch 13, 2013 - 10:59 pm

I hear you on this stress thing! I stress like I’m 40 and I’m only 25. The first half of my twenties were filled with way more worry than they should have. I’m inspired to make my own list :) And i so want that print from Etsy!

SerenaMarch 14, 2013 - 2:50 pm

@Stephanie – ha! I have the 1950s tile in my bathroom. 70s in the kitchen. 50s in the bathroom. Awesome.

CaraMarch 15, 2013 - 1:40 pm

We could be twins. I worry about these EXACT same things.

PenelopeMarch 16, 2013 - 9:02 pm

Just started reading your blog, and just wanted to say that I LOVE this and totally agree on all counts, especially #5 – I hate feeling bad about how much TV I watch, but it’s the best/easiest way I’ve found to relax

MargaretMarch 18, 2013 - 4:05 pm

By the way- I did my stress less post and linked to yours! Thanks for the inspiration :)

Alicia / JaybirdJuly 24, 2013 - 3:59 pm

Serena, I’m so glad to have found your blog! It’s refreshing to see someone talk about the stress and insecurities that sometimes accompany blogging, even when your blog is small like mine. Everything you described in #1 here and in your earlier post reflect things I’ve felt too. One recent change that helped with blogging overwhelm (am I posting enough? why wasn’t this post popular? etc.) was reminding myself that blogging is a choice and a fun hobby. I’ve split my “to do” list into “want to do” and “need to do”, and blogging falls under wants–not needs. Such a small thing helped to make me remember why I’m doing it!

LoraAugust 12, 2013 - 10:29 am

I love TV. I love that you love TV.
Zodor hates people who don’t love TV, so clearly Smallwoman Onbus mistook you for someone else.

Listening to: Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers

On Friday night Kevin and I joined some friends for a concert at Bimbo’s in San Francisco.
We live less than a half mile from it, and for months
Kevin has been talking about how ridiculous it is
that we live within walking distance of a pretty decent music venue,
and yet we rarely actually go to concerts
(before me, Kevin used to see music almost every weekend).

So when Kevin saw that Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers were playing,
he was stoked.

I was very unfamiliar with Nicki Bluhm, as well as the rest of the band
(which includes her husband Tim Bluhm of Mother Hips fame).
Plus, Kevin and I don’t always agree on music…
I prefer singer songwriter “coffee house” type music,
whereas Kevin likes jam bands.

I do not like jam bands.

So, I didn’t exactly have the highest of expectations.

But I was wrong. She was fantastic.

I was completely blown away.

She IS a singer songwriter! Not jam band-like in the slightest!

See for yourself:


I also love love love this cover of “Danny’s Song.”
(her original music is really good, too.)

Kevin was in his element.
He ran into about 10 people he knew,
and kept telling me how we need to see more live music
because it makes his soul come alive.

Something that makes your soul come alive?
Well, you can’t really argue against that.

Have you ever heard of Nicki Bluhm?

MargaretMarch 12, 2013 - 6:41 am

Just listened to both of these songs- they are so good. We live pretty close to a music venue and I just never even think about it as a place to go, but I love live music so much- really need to do it more often!

Michelle LimMarch 12, 2013 - 7:47 am

Yes, I love her! I’ve seen this video so many times since Verner showed it to me awhile ago. I didn’t know they actually did concerts! That’s awesome.
And you guys are awesome for liking it too.
Man oh MAN are we going to have the best time in SF, or what?!

Julie / BoundMarch 12, 2013 - 11:23 am

Whyyyyy am I at work where I can’t listen to this? I’m with Kevin on the “makes your soul come alive” part. LOVE live music.

LeeLeeMarch 12, 2013 - 10:02 pm

Wow, I haven’t heard of this artist, but after hearing the songs, she sounds great. I’m definitely going to check out more of her work.

StephanieMarch 13, 2013 - 9:14 am

I have never heard of her but that cover is awesome. I think it’s even more impressive that they’re playing while driving. So much better than any car singing I have ever been a part of. :)

SerenaMarch 13, 2013 - 10:03 am

@Stephanie – She has a whole “van series” which is just amazing. It’s what she became famous for, I think. So good!

KellyMarch 15, 2013 - 12:49 pm

Oh my Gosh…my fiance is IN LOVE with this girl!! He would be so jealous. I’ve had to watch ALL her videos online. haha. :) Hopefully he won’t leave me for her 😉

Travel Lust: My Guide to Oahu, Hawaii

Okay friends, I know you’re all just dying to hear about my Hawaiian vacation! (and yes, that was sarcasm for those of you that might have thought I was serious.) But hey, I’m dying to share it, so let’s begin!

The reason behind this trip was for our friends Hemant and Cathie’s wedding. We were so excited and happy for them, but we were especially happy that their wedding was in Hawaii. It “forced” us to plan a vacation to a place we have both been wanting to go. Years ago (as in high school) I went to Kauai and Maui, but I had never been to Oahu. Kevin has never been to Hawaii at all. We were both extremely excited, but for some reason, probably because I’ve heard that Oahu isn’t as great as some of the other islands, I suppose you could say I had lowered expectations. Because of that, I was completely (and pleasantly) surprised by how much I absolutely loved it there. Kevin and I pretty much drove around the whole island, and each part was unique and gorgeous, and the natural beauty literally took your breath away. Basically 90% of  movies or TV shows that are filmed in Hawaii are filmed in Oahu, so obviously the place is stunning. The lush green mountain ranges to the awe-inspiring coastlines to the shrimp trucks on the side of the road… I loved it all.


Sleep Best Places to Stay in Oahu

Our friends that live in Hawaii suggested that we stay in Kailua as opposed to Waikiki and I am soooooo glad that we listened to them. Waikiki and Honolulu are great, but they are completely different from the rest of the island. Kailua is this small residential area where mostly locals live. It’s where Obama stays when he visits. It’s where Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly lived while filming LOST. It’s reputed to have the best beaches on the island. There are no hotels in the area, but there are plenty of house rentals, and they are cheap! Kevin and I stayed at this studio through Airbnb and we couldn’t get over how cheap it was. It was a mere two-minute walk to the beach, a 15 minute walk to town, and it had a deck with views of the mountains. The unit itself was a little outdated, but for the price, we were more than satisfied. (Also, the owner of the house is also the founder of the old band Spyro Gyra, a fact that means absolutely nothing to me, but made Kevin very excited).

From my (limited) experience, most of the hotels on the island are huge resorts. Waikiki is full of them. We didn’t stay there, but some of our friends stayed at the Trump International Hotel and loved it. The wedding itself was held on the west side of the island at Ko Olina Resort, and it was stunning. I’ve also heard amazing things about Turtle Bay Resort on the north side of the island. If big resorts are your thing, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those. There are also some awesome boutique hotels in the area, like Hotel Renew and Aqua Lotus, which tend to be more my style.


Eat Where to Eat in Oahu

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know how much I love food. Kevin and I plan full vacations around where we will be eating, so I was very very very excited to spend my days eating fresh seafood and drinking fancy cocktails. But…  and I really hate to say this… I was not that impressed with the food. I’m sure there are some amazing places to eat, we just didn’t eat at any of them. We ate at all the places recommended to us, and trust me, I did A LOT of research prior to going (yelp is my bff), but nothing was that great. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that we live in San Francisco. We are used to a really high standard when it comes to eating out, and the food we ate in Oahu just paled in comparison.

However, it wasn’t all a total bust. The Grove in Kailua was very good, and the Shrimp Trucks in the north shore provided us with the best shrimp of our life. I’m serious. I’ve never had shrimp that good. Ever. It’s worth a trip to the North Shore for the shrimp trucks alone. We ate at Hono’s, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.

Drink Bars in Oahu

I only went to a handful of bars so I’m no expert, but the bar I saw Daniel Dae Kim (aka JIN!!!) at was the REAL a Gastropub in Honolulu, and hey, if it’s good enough for Jin, it’s good enough for me! Also, they had candied bacon which they served in little cups. I mean… bacon candy. They win. After the wedding, I had an absolute blast at Ohana Karaoke in Kailua, where I befriended another wedding guest that looked EXACTLY like Kristen Stewart (and who I am pretty sure now thinks I am a lesbian due to me telling her over and over and over again how pretty she was, and saying “it’s like I’m hanging out with Bella!” numerous times), and sang awkward spice girls karaoke with. “I tell ya what I want, what I really really want…” I’m sure what the bar wanted was for us to shut up, but oh well. Jessica, Oahu local, also told me to check out barefoot bar in Waikiki, but unfortunately my husband and I never made it over there. We also had some drinks at Buzz’s Lanakai, which was great but less beachy than we had expected. However, the best “bar” we went to was the Sandbar in Kaneohe bay, which leads me into…


Do Things to Do in Oahu

Hands down one of the most fun things we did was spend an afternoon at the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar. Basically, you get an a boat and drive about two miles into the ocean, where suddenly, a sandbar appears, and you hang out, in water, eating and drinking in the sun, in the middle of the ocean, all day long. It was suuuuuuuper windy when we went and because of that a little cold, but we still had a blast. This was organized for us through our friends, but if you google “kaneohe bay sandbar tour” you can find a lot of tours/activities that can get you there. Also, bring a sweatshirt. I did not bring a sweatshirt to Hawaii, so I ended up buying one at the salvation army on the way there for $6.99. It smelled like old people but it did its job, and I ended up wearing it more than I thought I would throughout the weekend.

Due to packing restraints (well, let’s be honest, and general laziness), Kevin and I didn’t pack any hiking shoes. So… we didn’t go on any hikes. However, lots of other people did, and we wish we did, so learn from our mistakes and bring some hiking shoes. There are so many beautiful hikes in the area… Lanikai Pillboxes HikeDiamond HeadMoanalua Falls… the list goes on and on. Since we couldn’t hike but still wanted to see some great views, we drove to the Nuuanu Pali Lookout and it was incredible. Totally worth a half hour of your day.

But let me tell you, it was WINDY. Very very windy.

Also, beware of flying bees.

I did not particularly care for that information.

As I mentioned above, the North Shore is worth going to for the shrimp trucks alone, but it’s also where the hugest waves are. We only saw some 15 foot waves, but based on when you go, the waves can get up to 40 feet high! Craziness! On our way there, we stopped at Byodo-In Temple which was stunning. It’s a replica of a 900 year old temple in Japan, and was built in 1968 in honor of the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. As mentioned in my other post, it’s also where a lot of scenes between Jin and Sun in LOST were shot. But that aside, it’s gorgeous and worth checking out.

Our last day was a little overcast and windy, so instead of lounging on the beach (and thus fighting sand in our face), we went to Kualoa Ranch. It’s a private property so you have to buy a pass or tour to enter it, but it’s worth it. It’s gorgeous. All those jungle valley scenes you see in LOST? They were shot there. So, needless to say, it excited me.

One thing we didn’t do was stop by Laniakea Beach in the North Shore and see the giant turtles. I learned about this after we had already gone to the North Shore, so it just didn’t happen for us. But if we go back, I’ll definitely want to stop by.


Lastly, I know a lot of people out there consider a luau a must-do when visiting Hawaii. Kevin and I are not a lot of people, so this wasn’t a priority to us, but I heard that the Luau at Paradise Cove in Ko Olina is one of the best.

Getting Around Oahu Car Rental

If you want to do any sort of exploring at all, you need to rent a car. Kevin and I were told by friends that we didn’t need to rent a car because we could walk to the beach and town, and take taxis when we needed to. That ended up not being the case. Unless you are staying in Waikiki with no plans of going anywhere else, you need a car. Because we didn’t plan ahead, we ended up renting a car once we got there for an exorbitant price, but it was so worth it. We would have felt so trapped without one. So plan ahead, and rent a car. Taxis are available but they are not the most reliant, and they are super expensive, and hard to come by at night. We waited for almost an hour for a taxi that never came, and ended up getting a ride back to our house with some strangers that, once in the car, we realized were absolutely hammered. Fortunately, we made it home safe and sound, but, that said, DO NOT LET DRUNK PEOPLE DRIVE YOU HOME. We were lucky. If you are going out and drinking, leave the car at home, suck it up and organize a taxi in advance. Eco cab in Honolulu is reliable, you just have to plan ahead.

And because this post wouldn’t be complete without at least one picture of the wedding, which is, after all, why we went to Hawaii in the first place, enjoy this eye candy of the beautiful bride and groom.

Congrats Hemant and Cathie! We were so honored to be part of this day.

Have you ever been to Oahu? Let me know if you have recommendations!

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KevinMarch 8, 2013 - 8:20 am

Sypro Gyra yes, BUT also you forgot to mention he played drums on stage with Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock! (the continuation of @spillerena’s musical education continues)…

StephanieMarch 8, 2013 - 9:44 am

I totally forgot about those awesome shrimp trucks!! I kinda want to go back just to eat at those trucks.

Julie / BoundMarch 8, 2013 - 10:40 am

What a great recap! The sandbar in particular looks incredible, I’d definitely check that out if I ever land in Oahu. (Also: we had the same food experience in Hawaii. Everything’s just really heavy!)

MoMarch 8, 2013 - 12:02 pm

Yay for destination weddings “making” you go to cool places! Unfortunately, the “destination” weddings I’ve been to are Kansas City, St. Louis and Dayton, OH. Booooo!

That sand bar trip looks awesome. I wanna go!

BrendaMarch 11, 2013 - 5:31 am

Next time try Boots & Kimos for breakfast/brunch and/or Cinnamon’s Restaurant! They’re both located in the Kaneohe/Kailua area. I hope you got to try some ono (delicious) Hawaiian food too. Also, if you’re a fan of sweet potato pie, Ani’s Bake Shop in Honolulu, makes a mean Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia (coconut) pie on a macadamia nut crust. It is HANDS DOWN pure heaven in your mouth!

Kayla @ Sealed With a KayMarch 11, 2013 - 7:39 am

Great guide and photos! Looks like you guys had an awesome trip!

MeganMarch 28, 2013 - 8:21 am

I wish i could find a blog that posted such an awesome personal guide like this about the Big Island- which is where i’m headed in May. But i still thought i would reach out to see where you found your adorable and affordable studio rental? Maybe you know of some good sites to start my research? Thank you! Love your blog so much btw! :)

Happy Birthday To Me! | SpillerenaDecember 12, 2013 - 9:45 am

[…] Thanks to weddings and 30th birthday celebrations, I was able to travel an insane amount, from Hawaii to Austin to Las Vegas to Oregon and all over […]

MattJanuary 9, 2016 - 4:43 pm

I like your article and hope you do get to come back and see the turtles at Laniakea :) Curious what you think of my Oahu guide: