Chicago Recap: My Favorite Pics

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Even though I was only there for a long weekend, I fell in love with Chicago.  I spent most of my time in the River North area (where I did my styling) and Lincoln Park.  For you San Diegans, the way Chicago is split up reminds me a lot of how San Diego has these little neighborhoods with their own vibe.  Each neighborhood is unique and only if you spend some real time there do you truly learn them.  I’ve included a picture of a map our friends had to show each section.

We totally lucked out weather-wise while we were there as well.  It snowed and got into the single digit temperatures but that famous Chicago wind was apparently on vacation.  I’m sure our long walks exploring Lincoln Park wouldn’t have been as much fun if the wind was following us.  All in all, we loved every second of our stay and we will be back!

P.S. – Lou Malnati’s Chicago-style pizza was epically delicious.  I’m talking so good you’ll eat yourself sick good.  I got the famous special with house made sausage on top.  To die for!  I’m drooling just thinking about it…

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This map gives you an idea of where all the little neighborhoods are located

 

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A typical street in Lincoln Park

 

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The ice coming out of the rain gutter was so cool to me! It’s like it just froze instantly!

 

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I’m so jealous of our friend’s office view…

 

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Got to love a girl who can rock ruby red heels (Oz Park)

 

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The face of pure joy. I loved playing in the snow! Could you tell?

 

stilettos

 

Clam Digging in Washington

Clamming

That’s right, my friends.  I went digging for clams in Washington.  Over our Thanksgiving trip, Tyler’s family suggested a camping adventure to Pacific Beach to dig for razor clams.  I’m game to try anything once but got a little freaked out after looking at the weather report.  It kept warning of an “Arctic Invasion” (“Killer Snowflakes!”  My mom exclaimed) and the thought of battling almost freezing temperatures with high winds and rain while clomping through the wave edge looking for razor clam holes was not as appealing as I originally thought.  We totally lucked out though.  When the tide was low, the weather broke and we had an absolutely great time.  I was shocked how fun it really was!  That was until we got to the cleaning the clams part…  I’ll spare you the details.

P.S. – I wore this look when I went to get my clamming license at Sportman’s Warehouse.  I don’t think they believed me that I was actually going to use it…

 

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Clamming9 Clamming11 Clamming8 Clamming4 Clamming5 Sunset

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stilettos

 

Hawaiian Sunset Montage

Sunrise in Oahu

As a finale to my Hawaiian adventure, I’ve compiled all the beautiful sunset/sunrise shots from throughout the trip.  I never really did get used to the time change so I was up by 6 am and usually passed out embarrassingly early every day.  I actually liked it because I got to see both the sunset and sunrise!  I’m everything a morning person is not so I can’t remember the last time I saw a sunrise!  I have to say… I kind of like them!!

Thanks for following me on my Hawaiian Adventure!  We have a few other trips in the works and I can’t wait to share more details with you when everything gets nailed down.  Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@WanderingHeels) for all the details!

Sunset in Hawaii

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Ocean sunetHawaiian SkySunrise over a mountainSunset at the KahalaSunset at the north shore

 

Resort Review: The Kahala Resort

Rainbow over Hawaii

I don’t even know where to start with The Kahala Resort.  It’s so luxurious and amazing!  Coming here was a total surprise from my honey for our 4 year so as we walked in, I was floored.  Not to mention my eyes welled up with excitement when I saw the dolphins (see my last post for pictures of the happiest girl in the world and her dolphin pal).

We might be the luckiest people to have gotten an upgrade to the 9th floor with views of the ocean and the dolphin lagoon.  We were able to sit on the balcony, enjoy our celebratory mimosas, and watch the dolphins play frisbee with their trainers.  The Kahala is also a hugely popular place for weddings and we saw at least 3 happening daily.

The resort is a place for relaxation and since cabanas come with the room, we spent many hours soaking up some rays, eating lunch in the sand, and snorkeling the reef that starts just feet from the shore.  You can paddle board, kayak, and do yoga classes on a paddle board as well but we decided to be lazy so swimming and snorkeling were our activities of choice.

The Kahala is also home to Aracino, one of the best Italian restaurants we’ve ever been to.  We had the 5 course meal with wine pairing and could hardly believe how delicious everything was.  The service was amazing as well and they were able to answer all Tyler’s questions about the meal (he’s an aspiring chef so there were many questions!).  If you’re on Oahu, I highly recommend coming here for dinner.  It’s one of the top 3 meals I’ve ever had so this is an absolute must-visit in my book.

Overall, The Kahala has everything a relaxing Hawaiian resort should have.  I did not want to go home at all after staying here.  I mean, life is good but there’s just something about a vacation that makes everything even rosier.  5 stars Kahala… 5 stars…

You would have found me in this position often

You would have found me in this position often

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

Super excited about the view for our balcony

Super excited about the view for our balcony

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

The view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

Sunset in Oahu

Sunset on the balcony

Sunrise in Oahu

Sunrise on the balcony

Swimming Pool at the Kahala

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

There's a gorgeous wall of orchids that leeds down to the beach

There’s a gorgeous wall of orchids on the way down to the beach

 

Rental Review: Mika Taki House with Lagoon

Hilo HouseThis house is almost too spectacular to review.  I kind of want to keep it a secret so it stays our little hidden gem.  I can’t do that to you though!  The whole point of visiting these amazing places it to share them!

This 4 bedroom 4.5 bathroom house is situated just a few blocks from the main Hilo area but is far enough away to feel secluded.  You’re surrounded by lush tropical rainforest that bursts to life every night.  The froggy noises are so loud that light sleepers might have a difficult time sleeping.  It felt really fun for us though since it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  The home itself is fully stocked with everything you could possibly need on your stay.  Seriously, we didn’t need to buy anything while we were there except bug spray (and food and wine of  course).  With all the rain (Hilo has the highest rainfall in the USA!) comes lots of bugs.  I got about a million mosquito bites on our stay in Hilo.  I’m kind of a target for them though.  I’ll get 12 and my friends will get 1… so unfair.

Another amazing bonus about this place is the private lagoon with waterfall.  It’s spectacular.  You could probably not leave the house for a few days and just lounge by the lagoon, BBQ, and be perfectly content with life.  The lagoon has big tadpoles, prawns, and tons of little fishies that were fun to watch.  It’s a tad on the chilly side but a nice relief from the warm weather and humidity.

We’re talking about renting this place out for our entire family some time soon.  It’s really one of the best rental properties I’ve ever experienced.  Leaving was the only thing I didn’t like about it.

Find out more info or book your stay here!

Fruit trees

Tons of tropical fruit trees surround the property

The rainforest view from our bedroom

The rainforest view from our bedroom

A cute sitting area overlooking the rainforest

A cute sitting area overlooking the rainforest

House

Huge palms trees tower over the property

Huge palms trees tower over the property

Loved the secluded lagoon

Loved the secluded lagoon

Stunning lagoon... I couldn't believe it was our own!

Stunning lagoon… I couldn’t believe it was our own!

A cute little dock on the lagoon

A cute little dock on the lagoon

Boys will be boys...

Boys will be boys…

The steps down to the lagoon

The steps down to the lagoon

A Secret Hike in Hilo

Wandering In Heels

After we said our goodbyes to the North Shore, we took an island hopper flight over to The Big Island to stay in Hilo for a few nights.  Originally we were supposed to visit the Volcano National Park but because of the government shutdown we weren’t able to go.  No worries though!  Hilo was full of super fun things for us to do!!

One of my favorite adventures was a totally unplanned stop on our way up to Akaka Falls.  There was a teenie tiny trail head on the side of the road with a stunning view.  So we pulled over to take some shots and decided to head down the trail a bit.  I’m so glad we did!  There were little hidden beaches, mini waterfalls, and plenty of ocean views.  If you’re looking for this secret spot, it’s about 1 mile South of the Hawaiian Botanical Garden entrance.  Just keep your eyes peeled for a small trail head sign just before one of the bigger curves in the road.

Tip:  Do this hike before buying your tickets to the botanical garden.  Once you’re a ticket holder, you can’t do this hike for insurance reasons.  Also, bring some water shoes.  You’ll be walking across a few streams and things you won’t want to miss out on!

 

Hawaii Views

Secret Beach

secret beach

Waterfall

lone palm tree

palm tree on the beach

Mongoose

Tropical Plants

Hike to the Northern Point of Oahu

Hiking in Hawaii

When I think of hiking in Hawaii, I think lush tropical flowers, waterfalls, and vine canopied trails.  Not so  much on this hike.  The manager of the house we rented suggested we take a hike to the Northern tip of Oahu to catch a glimpse of seals lounging on the beach and get an amazing sunset view.  Sounded great!

Well, the hike was not exactly as described.  It was essentially an off-roading track thats main features included tire tracks, empty beer cans, and panties left behind.  Not exactly the picturesque trail we were expecting.  We turned back after talking to someone that said we had a long ways to go… by car.  Since we didn’t want to be walking back in the dark and wine on the beach sounded so much better, we turned around.

The best part was climbing over the rocks along the beach.  Here are some shots of that portion of our walk.  The moral of the story, take advice with a grain of salt and make the time to research the destination yourself.  Oopsy!

Wandering in heels

Rocky Beach

hillside of oahu

Random office chair left behind

Random office chair left behind

rocky beach

Wandering in heels

Wandering in heels hiking

Top: Equipment,  Swimsuit: J.Crew, Shorts: Jolt, Shoes: Toms