When he first suggested I take a whole month off I was all like 'whaaaaaa!?' I've basically had a job since I was 12 years old. I babysat, bagged groceries, washed dishes, walked dogs, I was on staff at a cheer camp; when I was in college, I worked as a server and a tutor and coach. I interned during my college summers. The idea of not working for a month was incredibly foreign to me. What would I do with nothing to do? The idea was thrilling and a bit scary at the same time.
As many people know, I'm not very afraid of change. I embrace it and I always encourage my friends and family to do the same. It has brought nothing but good things for me. I hate and love to say it, but you only live once. Take opportunities when they are there for the taking but also create some opportunities for yourself.
The job change and the Kauai trip were both a product of embracing change and taking and making opportunities. I saw a company that impressed and interested me, so I asked for a lunch meeting. And that led me to a job that turned out to be a perfect fit. I'll go as far as calling it my realistic dream job. And I have to say 'realistic' because a non-realistic dream job would involve me getting paid to eat, travel and sample and review clothes and shoes, etc. This job, I actually work and utilize my credentials and professional interests, so yeah, a realistic dream job.
The Kauai trip was in the spirit of taking advantage of opportunities because I chose to stop working at the old place sooner than I had to. It turns out that all the vacation I didn't take while working added up to a decent payout at the end. And even with the expenses of buying a house, planning a wedding and a honeymoon on the horizon, we thought we'd kick off the party with a lush and beachy vacation! Yolo. Treat yo' self. All of those silly but totally legit sayings.
We stayed 5 nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. Although the restaurants at the resort were mediocre at best, everything else was perfect for what we were looking for. The room was nice with a decent ocean view. The pool area was clean and extensive; there was an area specifically for kids and another spot for kid-free lounging, a lazy river, a water slide, some tunnels, waterfalls, various hot tubs and a salt water lagoon. The beach was just off the back of the resort, so we could get our ocean smells and sounds fix whenever we felt like it; and the views were stunning all day long.
Interestingly enough there was a time not long ago when I didn't photograph all of my food, so I have no food porn (hate calling it that) to share. It had to be because the rest of the scenery was too scrumptious and I was just eating out of primal necessity. Keoki's Paradise and Roy's were our favorite restaurants just down the street from the resort. Keoki's was totally gimmicky but we loved it. The roosters running around the outdoor seating just added to the relaxed island feel. Roy's was really tasty food but it's still a chain at the end of the day and one visit was enough. The only food item I took a picture of was a carrot and pineapple muffin because I didn't want to forget that I should recreate the recipe once I got home.
The first morning, we hiked the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail, in search of Gillin's Beach (Mahaulepu Beach).
It was very obvious at this point that Jurassic Park was filmed on Kauai!
Seriously, expecting to see a brachiosaurus at any minute...
I see a private(ish) beach in the distance!
I was quite amused that my hair clip was based off of a really fake looking real flower, which I think is a hibiscus. I have a real green thumb, let me tell you.
Our second day hike was a bit more rocky and undefined...
We saw dolphins and whales in the distance this morning. They were way too far away to photograph, but it was still so exciting!
Black Swan and Koi Pond
We drove our rental car to see the twin waterfalls, Wailua Falls....
And the scenery was exotic and mesmerizing
A far cry from Michigan in December!
Sun-kissed and tired of lounging, we wait at the airport for the long flight ahead!
And now, I think it is time to book our next beach trip :)