Watch Me Whip…

0

…just don’t feed the nēnēs!


Yeah, I know it’s corny–but I have approximately 12 minutes to post something, I’m not even home yet, and my brain is a bit fried. Plus, every time I see this sign that song gets stuck in my head….

But since I’m also feeling the need to be educational: the nēnē is the state bird of Hawaii and, if Wikipedia is to be believed, is found exclusively on the islands Oahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, Molokai, and Hawaiʻi. In case you’re wondering, we discovered these on Kauai:


Aloha!

Shipwreck…

0

It wouldn’t be a Hawaiian vacation if you didn’t spend at least a little time at the beach.  We debated about when/where we wanted our beach day to be (aside from our quick trips to the Black and Green sand beaches).  Ultimately, we decided that it might be a nice break towards the end of the trip to have a few less packed, more relaxing days–so we opted for Kauai and we found a beach not far from where we were staying.

Shipwreck Beach.

img_6065

It is in Poipu and (according to the Poipu Beach Resort Association) “during most of the year, the waters here are best for advanced surfers due to a short shore-break.”

img_6067

I have to admit waves were a little rough.  Being neither surfers nor advanced surfers, Tracy and I instead tried a little bodyboarding.  The results varied, but mostly ended up in laughter (well, on my part–Tracy was far more adept at it!)

Picturesque and not crowded, it was a great place to kick back and relax for awhile. While it may not look like it, it’s pretty steep from the back of the beach to the water–so our legs got quite the workout walking from our lounging spot to get into the water (not that we were complaining…much!).

img_6062

With the somewhat choppy waves and the rocky juts in the shoreline, it wasn’t difficult to imagine how Shipwreck Beach got its name.  But when the waves are right, apparently it’s one of the locals’ favorite spots for surfing.

Aloha!

img_6069

 

 

Sunday Comics: Texas Heat Wave

1

too. hot. to. type.

Actually we were given a brief heat wave reprieve today in NYC–but Sundays are great for being lazy.

Meanwhile, back home:

hobbits

Stay cool & hydrated–and watch out for rings of power!

MWWC 34: Memory

1

I have often said that the best part of wine is sharing it with someone.  As such, there are some wines and/or wineries that will always and forever remind me of a specific person, like Teresa & Grape Creek or Nerida & Chandon.  Or even Matthew & Silver Oak–ironically not because we’ve consumed copious amount of Silver Oak, but because we arrived at their tasting room 5 minutes after they closed and I might have had a momentary meltdown that ended 4 seconds later with Matthew flatly informing me to get back in the car or he was going back to San Jose without me.

In case you’re wondering what this has to do with Hawaii: nothing.  What it has to do with is that this month’s wine writing challenge (#34), as selected by last month’s winner Kent of Appetite for Wine, is MEMORY.

wine-stain1-3

I was trying to figure out which wine holds the most memories for me, however, I realized that was a bit like picking a favorite child.  Instead, I decided to pick a winery.

I’ve talked about the Chisholm Trail Winery before.  I mean, any winery that can get me to love their merlot is quite special indeed–and their 1994 Merlot did just that.  But their cabernets–spectacular: fruity, but dry with just a tiny bit of spice and oh-so-smooth.

IMG_1142

But the wines aren’t the reason that I picked this winery.

Perhaps you might think that it has to do with winemaker, Paula K. Williamson, who is charismatic, has an infectious laugh, and is almost never seen without her signature black Stetson.  But no, while Paula is fabulous and I adore her, she is not the reason either.

Paula

You might even think that it’s because Christi & I spent one hot August day helping Paula & crew pick grapes in the vineyard and then watched the bottling process while sampling some of the winery favorites.  It was a long, fun-filled, exhausting day, but no.  That’s not it either.

IMG_1128

The reason Chisholm Trail Winery holds so many memories for me has nothing to do with wine at all.  It is because the land where the winery sits used to be owned by my family.  Specifically my great-great Uncle Hugo.  Hugo was my grandfather’s uncle and we spent a lot of time at Uncle Hugo’s because he had the best fishing hole in the county.  As a young girl I spent hours and hours at the creek behind the house, which now runs long the south side of the vineyards.  I spent hours running around the old, gigantic trees scattered around the now-winery picking flowers for Granny, who rarely came with us.

It’s been probably 35 years since I last went fishing with Uncle Hugo, but every time I open a bottle of Chisholm Trail wine, memories flood back.  I feel the sun on my face, the cool water tickling my feet, and can hear Uncle Hugo’s hearty laugh.  There are many reasons to love Chisholm Trail winery and their wines.  But for me, I love it because tastes like home.

IMG_0947

Cheers!

 

 

Chalkboard Art: Summer in NYC

0

New York City streets are filled with a lot of things: people, dogs, trash, mysterious things you’re better off not knowing what they are…but my favorite things NYC sidewalks offer are Chalkboard Art.

I think this accurately sums up today…

A Yo Ho Ho Thirsty Thursday

2

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!

I know, I know: I’ve already featured the Koloa Rum Company on Thirsty Thursday before…and yes, I’m featuring them again.  I mean, is there such a thing as too much rum?  I think not.

Please note that any and all complaints will be actively ignored while drinking from my stash of Koloa…

IMG_4330

Here we are congregated at the tasting bar as our lovely bartender took us through all the rums that Koloa offered: White, Gold, Spiced, Dark, and Coconut.  We all graciously took turns finishing April’s tastes, as she would take a small sip of each for prosperity’s sake and then would slide her glass down to each of us in turn–we couldn’t let delicious rum go to waste!

After running through the line-up, we got a brief lesson on the Mai Tai and Koloa’s version for anyone who wanted one (yes, please!).

Hawaii 359b

Tastings are daily–but there are a limited number of slots per tasting, so the first thing you need to do when you get there (of course you’re going to go–why wouldn’t you?!?) is sign up for a tasting.  After that, do take the time to walk around the picturesque grounds and visit the gift shop (just don’t miss your tasting!).

For the store and tasting room hours–not to mention directions, recipes, descriptions of their current rum selections, and their e-gift shop can all be found on their website.

The best part of perusing their website is that I noticed that they’ve added a new rum to their collection since we visited: coffee.  Helllllllloooo gorgeous!!!!  Could there be a more perfect rum for me?

My only question (because the previous one was rhetorical) is: who wants to go to Kauai?!?

IMG_4323

Aloha!

Uncle’s!

0

In addition to tubing, another thing you must do in Kauai is go to Uncle’s Shave Ice and get, well, shave ice!

img_5985

Cool and refreshing shave ice is something that is a must-do when you’re in Hawaii (regardless of which island you visit!) and Uncle’s definitely offered up some tasty flavors.  Okay, yes, it looks like a snow cone.  But an awesome snow cone.  An awesome snow cone that you are eating WHILE IN HAWAII.

Don’t argue, just go–you’ll be thanking me half way through your first bite!

img_5988

Despite the name, Uncle’s offers up more than just shave ice.  And one of the most interesting things on the menu was shave snow.  Shave snow is similar to shave ice but rather than adding flavoring to ice, shave snow is a mix of flavoring, milk, water, and sugar which is then frozen and shaved into ribbons and served topped with condensed milk.  They liken it to Taiwanese shave ice and it tastes like the shaved ice you get here in Koreatown.  But honestly, they had us at “topped with condensed milk.”

img_5986

Uncle’s has two locations: Lihue & Koloa.  Since we were staying about a 6 minute drive from Koloa, that’s where we went..and I’d be lying if I said we only went once!

We all got different flavors and then shared so we could try as many flavors as possible.  We stuck to mostly flavors that reminded us of Hawaii: Blue Hawaiian, coconut, pineapple, and piña colada to name a few.  It was hard to narrow down the flavors (thus multiple trips and sharing!), but regardless of what you order–it’s going to be great!

img_5987

Aloha!

 

A Sugary Float

7

The most fun we had (in my humble opinion) on any excursion during our entire trip was visiting the Lihue Plantation, an old sugar plantation on Kauai.

I know you’re thinking: what is so fun about visiting an old sugar plantation unless it is now a rum factory?  Alas no rum–what we did was float down part of the irrigation system on tubes.

A little bit of history on the Lihue Plantation: construction started on the irrigation system in 1856 with the Rice Ditch (created by William Harrison Rice). It wasn’t quite what they needed it to be, so in 1870 the Hanama‘ulu Ditch was built–by hand (well, and shovels, sledge hammers, etc!). It is said that it took up to 1,000 workers at one time to build each section of the ditch and it took two years to finish all the sections.  All in all, the Lihue Plantation’s water system is made up of 51 miles of ditches!  You can read more about it here.

We booked our tubing tour with Kauai Backcountry Adventures, who would be guiding us down part of the Hanama‘ulu Ditch.  After checking in, we were weighed (yep….weighed!  I probably should have had less malasadas for breakfast!!).  After weigh-in, we were handed hard hats, headlamps, and gloves.  We were then herded into large vans (nicer than the ones in Ka Lae) and we drove down some tiny backroads until we reached a clearing where we were dumped out and watched helplessly as the vans drove away.

Just as we were about to panic that we had been abandoned in some Hawaiian Lord of the Flies experiment, we were greeted by a younger version of The Rock (that would be Dwayne Johnson, not Rockefeller Plaza or Alcatraz), who explained the rules:

  1. Stay in your tube
  2. If you’re having issues, let one of the guides know
  3. Stick together as a group
  4. Do NOT say the water is cold

We were then given a series of directional code words and what they meant, which were mostly for when we were in the tunnels and couldn’t see.

Everyone in the group (about 20 in total) agreed to all the rules and dutifully practiced our code words while we lined up and proceeded down a little ramp where the younger version of The Rock would select a tube for us and help us into it.

DSCN0115

April was the first in our group, who declared the water to be refreshing.  Although she is from Minnesota and the fact that the water was in liquid form meant that it wasn’t the c-word.

DSCN0154

I walked up and–with all the grace of a hippopotamus learning ballet–managed to get into my tube aaaaand HOLYFUCKINGSHIT the water is uh, uh, brisk/refreshing/invigorating/bracing.  I sounded a little like Rainman with a thesaurus, but I did not say the c-word (yay me!).

I can’t quite remember what the punishment for saying the c-word was, but when someone who looks like the younger version of The Rock tells you not to do something, you listen!

However as I floated by the younger version of The Rock, he noticed that I couldn’t get comfortable, so he called me over.  After a couple of seconds of watching me struggle to paddle back to him, he walked over and towed me back to the shore.  All of this time, mind you, no one else has gotten in the water and were all watching us.  He very politely and quietly whispers, “I think you need a slightly bigger tube.”  At which point, I start laughing hysterically.

Christi, who was next in line, had a worried look on her face “what’s wrong? what’s wrong?”

Through the laughter I roared “my ass is too big!!”

The younger version of The Rock looked slightly mortified and said “I didn’t say that!  I just think a different tube would be more comfortable.”

And he was right, of course…but I couldn’t stop giggling.

DSCN0152

Once everyone was in their tube, we set off–stopping periodically to let the stragglers catch up to the group.

DSCN0147

The irrigation system had a current moving fast enough to keep pushing us along, but not so fast that we felt like we were in white water rapids.  Along the way we came to 4 different tunnels.  At each tunnel entrance we’d turn on our lights, which afforded us to see things nearby our tube, but little else.

DSCN0130

We laughed, we floated, we got to know other people in our group, and along the way saw some spectacular views.  Once we were finished navigating our section of the irrigation ditch, we had a picnic lunch and were offered up in sacrifice to the mosquitos.

DSCN0119

All too soon, we found ourselves back in the van navigating the windy roads back to Lihue.  It was so much fun! And if you find yourself on the island of Kauai, tubing should be on top of your Things To Do List–just don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!

DSCN0155

For more information or to book your tubing adventure, click here: Kauai Backcountry Adventure.

Aloha!

 

The Garden Isle

3

The last Hawaiian island that we visited was Kauai.  It is the northernmost island in the archipelago, as well as the oldest–some sites say 5.8 million, other say over 6 million years old, I say potato, potahto!  We stayed there the longest of all three islands–and for good reason, there was a lot to see and do!

But before I get into our activities, I thought I’d share some fun/interesting facts about Kauai!  My sources can be found here, here, and here.  For full disclosure, I pretty much just copied and pasted the points–so do check out the source sites because I will be ignoring any and all accusations of plagiarism!

  • Known as the Garden Isle, it is the fourth largest island and has a population of about 65,000 people.
  • Kauai covers 552.3 square miles of land and is so small it is measured in acres = 401,280 in total.
  • Kauai’s coastline is 111 miles and over 50% of those miles are sandy beaches.

IMG_4646

  • Over 97% of the land on Kauai is used for conservation and agriculture.
  • 70% of the island is inaccessible by foot
  • Kauai Coffee is the largest coffee plantation in the United States.
  • Kauai grows more taro than any other island.
  • Some of the cliffs along the spectacular Napali Coast reach heights of 2,500 feet.

Hawaii 457

  • More than 60 movies and tv shows have filmed on Kauai.
  • Kauai is the legendary home of the Menehune, a mythical race of very small people who performed legendary feats of construction and engineering.
  • By law, no building on Kauai is allowed to be built taller than a coconut palm tree.
  • Kauai has the only navigable rivers in the state of Hawaii.

IMG_4515

  • Kauai’s official color is purple and the official flower is Mokihana.
  • It has 7 (yes–7!) microclimates throughout the island.
  • Mount Waialeale (elevation 5,148 ft) is one of the wettest spots on Earth, averaging about 450 inches of rain each year!

DSCN0112 3

Aloha!

Sunday Comics: A Recap & Some Distractions

2

In just under 11 hours (uh, not that I’m counting or anything–10 hours, 18 minutes),  Season 7 of Game of Thrones is premiering and I thought for today’s comic, I’d leave you with a quick recap.

**SPOILER ALERT**  If you’re just getting into the GoT scene, here’s a bit of advice: you might want to skip picking a favorite character, going to weddings, and today’s meme.

got recap

Btw if you’re looking to kill some time before the show starts and the real killing begins, it seems like everyone has a GoT quiz ranging from testing your knowledge to which house(s) you belong.

Here are just a sampling to keep you busy (my results are in italics):

Which GoT Character Are You Based on Your Winter Conditions? apparently, NYC is akin to Riverrun–although I just got a House name, not a character.

GoT Super Quiz  okay, maybe it took a couple of times to get through it…stupid Littlefinger!

Which GoT Character Are You? Daenerys…yay! dragons!

How Many Dead GoT Characters Can You Name?  29…hint: direwolves count–as they should!

GoT: The Ultimate Quiz 18 out of 20–that’s what I do: drink wine & know things

Which GoT House Do You Belong? House Stark.  Winter is coming…

Or if you don’t like you result, you can try again What GoT House Do You Belong In? The Night’s Watch….hahahahaha…I don’t think I’m eligible! Although I’d like to think that I know more than Jon Snow…

Or again Which GoT House Are You? House Stark.  Apparently I’m destined for the cold weather, but I do love my pupcicle.

Or if you feel like you can’t be confined to one house, Which Two GoT Houses Do You Hail From? Stark/Targaryen yay! dragons and direwolves!

Which GoT Warrior Would Be Your Trial by Combat Champion? The Hound…continuing on with my dog-theme and I’m perfectly okay with that. 

If you’re looking for more, Google will happily give you “about 1,740,000 results in 0.49 seconds” if you type in “Game of Thrones quizzes.”

If you haven’t had time to rewatch, HBO is kindly kicking things off at 6:45pm ET with Episodes 59 & 60 (Battle of the Bastards and The Winds of Winter, respectively).  Invite your friends, feed your dogs (not necessarily in that order), and kick back with a couple of jugs of wine!

Valar morghulis.