Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hawaii Favorites: Oahu

Last but certainly not least - Oahu.  Before staying on Oahu I didn't really think I'd love this island.  (If you've ever sat in traffic in Waikiki you know what I mean).  It's super crowed.  Lots of traffic and very tourist-y.  My first trip to the island I only stayed a day and I wasn't super impressed.  It just felt like CA to me (but with even higher prices).

Now that I've stayed on the North Shore I really fell in love with this island.  I would highly recommend staying up there its much more 'upcountry' feeling with the true Hawaiian culture (handwritten signs dictating 'no more hotels' and all).  

I stayed at the Turtle Bay resort.  It was unbelievably amazing.  I've stayed at some questionable places in Hawaii (and still paid an arm and a leg) so I try not to expect to 'get my money's worth.'  But this resort definitely lived up to the hype.  They've undergone a major renovation and the room I stayed in was stunning.  I was actually a dork taking a million photos of not just the amazing sunsets but all of the decor in my room (for inspiration for my beach house room) and in the hallways.  I did a full post on the design updates here:  Beach House Dreaming

I was obsessed with this lamp!

This was my happy place for sure!

I snapped this on my way to a few shops - love the architectural details. 

 Favorite shops:

*SoHa Living.  Hand's down my absolute favorite store on the island.  It's like the beachy section at HomeGoods during the summer.  I wanted one of everything!  (sorry for the blurry shots, I was trying to be stealthy with my cell phone)

*I think this store was called Red Bamboo - so sorry if I've got that wrong!  I didn't end up buying anything here but they had some really cute displays.

*Guava - in Hale'iwa - pretty pricey but I love their ikat fabrics

*Pineapples boutique - really cute beachy outfits here - I found a beautiful tunic that's probably my favorite in my whole closet right now

*Noa Noa - I first went into this shop on a whim on the Big Island but I found another store on Oahu too.  Lovely batik prints, all handmade stuff.  I bought a few headbands here and I absolutely love the fabric and patterns.  

Favorite restaurant:

*The best meal by far was actually at my hotel - in the restaurant called Pa'akai.  Beautiful view and the food was amazing.  

That's a pineapple apple pie dessert that was enormous - I was so full I couldn't even eat half of it but it was pretty amazing.  

 *As I mentioned in my previous posts on the other islands - I try to do the buffet for breakfast at least once on each island.  The buffet at Turtle Bay at the Kula grille) was one of the best, lots of options...soooo much food)

Favorite things to do:

*Dole plantation - yes it's super touristy but it's beautiful and not far from the North Shore (I actually went after I went shopping in Hale'iwa).  Pineapples are my favorite fruit so I had to check out the best.  I wasn't disappointed. I only wish I would have gotten the Dole whip like I really wanted.  The line is almost like being at Chipotle - if you don't know what you want people will get aggressive. So I ended up with pineapple ice cream with pineapple chunks which was still absolutely amazing but I feel like I still need to experience the famous Dole whip just once. 

I also picked up some pineapple gummi bears.  I almost bought two bags but they're like $8 gummi bears which I thought was just nuts so I limited myself to one bag (because they just couldn't be that amazing!).  Guess what - they are that amazing - buy three bags, trust me.  

*Kahuku Farm tour - this was a fun way to see how apple bananas grow and how papayas are harvested and even how pineapples are grown.  At the end I bought the most healthy meal I had on the whole trip plus an awesome super fresh smoothie - I ate everything on my lanai while the sun set - pretty perfect night.  

Other favorites:

*Watching the surfers from my lanai.  I don't think I'd ever have the courage to try surfing so watching them is the next best option.  

*On the North Shore you can pretty much pull over at any beach park and you're guaranteed an amazingly blue sky and equally beautiful water.

 *I love driving the winding roads to the Makapu'u lookout.  The water is always super blue and the vibe is really peaceful.

*You have to go to Ala Moana at least once.  It's super crowded and roads will be closed in certain directions and it's super confusing but all of the high end shops are here and if you want to check them out patience is key.  

PS - Am I the only one that those lines on the street are completely baffling? 

I hope you've found some new spots to check out the next time you take a trip to the islands (or are reminded of some places you already know you love!).

Below I took a few shots of the souvenirs I brought back. I went a little overboard on this trip. I'm not sure what came over me! Usually I'm not much of a typical-souvenir-person so I gravitate towards home stuff to decorate with, things to wear (especially jewelry), stuff for my kitchen since I love cooking and art.

Here are a few shots around the house of my new souvenirs :) 

For bigger trips I like to do a shadowbox and fill it with some of the little items I've collected on the trip (and they're usually the more souvenir-y type stuff so it makes sense to keep it in one spot instead of cluttering up the house - anymore than it already is ;))

Have a great week! Aloha!

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