About a year ago, Emily at Just Because reached out to me and asked if we could go grab some coffee.  I immediately liked her because it's not often (pretty much never) that a stranger will just do that.  We hit it off and have been hanging out ever since.  

Lucky for me, she happens to have a sister, Beth at The Honey Blonde Life, who lives in Hawaii and invited us for a visit!  Of course when there is anything related to travel and crossing off a Bucket List item, I'm game.  In the short week that we were there, we did a lot...so, in case you are headed to Hawaii anytime soon, here are the things I suggest you see and do!

1.  Get a room with a view.  Beth picked us up at the airport, drove us around a bit on the way home and took us by an outdoor market and Whole Foods.  I was surprised at how much traffic there was because I always imagined Hawaii being an empty paradise.  As we drove farther and farther away from the airport, though, I found that it was more like what I expected.  And when we arrived at Beth's house and saw this view, I knew it was going to be a beautiful week in Hawaii.

2.  Visit the Byodo-In Temple.  This place was so peaceful, had enormous fish and a huge bell that you can ring.

PC: Emily Christopher

PC: Emily Christopher
3.  Drive around the Valley of the Temples.  I was surprised to find out that many religions all bury their dead in the same cemetery here...it was interesting to drive around and compare the looks of the areas.

4.  Grab a cold, fresh coconut!  We did several times.  They cut it open right in front of you, let you drink up, then cut the meat out for you to take with you!

5.  Get off the beaten path.  The most fun we had was when we were driving or walking around, with no destination, but curiosity to lead the way!

PC: Emily Christopher
6.  Hike Koko Head.  This is not for the faint of heart.  We had to use my iPhone as a flashlight until we could see and the steps were very steep.  Not only was it hard to hike because our legs were worn out, but we had to be careful to keep our balance and not stumble backwards.  There was even an area where the steps are in the air over a 20 foot drop!

But the view...we made it right in time for the sunrise!

PC:  Emily Christopher

And the way down was a piece of cake...after the hike up!

7.  Drive all along the coastline.  There are so many breathtaking views, hidden beaches and coconut stops that we came across while simply driving.

8.  Try the bubble tea.  After hiking and sight seeing and driving all over the place, we found this great beach and bubble tea.  It was delicious, but (to be honest) made us both pretty sick!  But, you should still try it...haha.

9.  Eat some seaweed salad and spicy tuna poke.  Seriously, weirdest ever, but oh so good.  We got it at the indoor market that sets up at the mall on Sunday and Wednesdays.

10.  Shop 'til you drop at the Ala Moana Center.  It is the largest outdoor mall in the world and would take days to get through it all.  

11.  Go to a Luau.  We did the Chief's Luau and had a great time, but I've heard that there are better ones out there.  The wind was freezing, though, so I suggest you dress warmer than we did.

12.  Take a walk up the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail.

It was scary windy.  We were worn out by the time we got to the car, not because of the hike, but because of the constant fight against the wind.

13.  Demolish some Malasadas from Leonard's Bakery.  We did several times.  The coconut cream filling was the best.

14.  Take a twirl at every beach.  Something about being on an empty beach with a gorgeous view made me want to dance and laugh...such freedom!

15.  Find the angel wings in Haleiwa.  We almost didn't see these, since they are sorta hidden on the side of a shop.

16.  Visit Pearl Harbor.  This was much more serious than the rest of the sight seeing, but I was glad that we took the time to go and learn more about our country's history.  I am so thankful for all the brave men that gave their lives that day.

17.  Survive Mermaid Cave.  This place looks all beautiful and unreal, but it was actually a pretty scary experience.  It was difficult to get down there, then once we did the tide was immediately rushing in and we needed to get out.  The best memories are usually made out of something terrifying or painful...let's just say this is a great memory!  haha.

18.  Visit Iolani Palace, the only palace in the United States.  Although it's not very big, it is very well taken care of and has some beautiful old pieces of furniture and decor all around.  We had to wear some little slippers to protect the floors and carpets.

19.  Eat at Mike's Huli Chicken.  Guy Fieri visited this place in one of his episodes of Diners, Drive In's and Dives.  I recommend the garlic shrimp.

20.  Hike Diamond Head.  It was much easier than Koko Head, but much more packed with other tourists.

21.  Climb down into Cockroach Cove.  There is a sign that says not to, but do it anyway.

22.  Take a nap on the beach, any beach.  We actually snuck onto this beach in a beautiful resort!

23.  Don't forget to take your photographer with you.  Hawaii is beautiful and you'll want some great photos to prove it.

As you can see we had a great time!  Thank you Emily and Beth for including me.  I hope to come back one day with Ironman and show him around the island! 

PC: Emily Christopher

Aloha Hawaii and Mahalo!


  1. Such an awesome trip! So glad you came! Love my face in the picture under the Valley of the Temples section. haha!

    1. You must've suggested we go do something that I thought was stupid...lol ;P

    2. OMG! hahahahaha. I thought that you were smiling. After you posted this comment, I went back and zoomed in and saw your face! haha. Whoops.