Friday, July 29, 2011

A Year's Supply

So when the prophets say to have a year supply of goods, I don't think this is what they meant.
Two weeks ago I mentioned going to the Turtle Bay employee appreciation dinner. They gave away several awesome door prizes including free helicopter rides, free kayak tours, $50 gift certificates to restaurants, gift baskets, and even a stay down at the Waikiki Hilton. Ryan was a fortunate one who won a prize that night. As he brought the envelope back to our table we eagerly opened it anxious to see our prize.
It was....

AYears Supply of Pepsi.

You can add that to our bribe list. Just how much is a year's supply of Pepsi? Well for one adult Pepsi Co figures it out to be twelve 24 packs or 288 cans. Yeah. So crack open a nice cold Pepsi, we'll be doing it for a while.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

For (my dad) Papa Lowry

So for my birthday last year my dad got me an underwater camera. And since we live in Hawaii and are not vacationers we; don't get to the beach as often as we would like, and when we do we forget to take the camera, are pansies when it comes to cold water and have had a lot of rain this year which makes for limited beach time and murky water. We did try to take it out one night but when we got it out in the water we realized it didn't have a flash.... Oops. So today was beautiful and the water a little chilly but we sucked it up and took the camera across the street....forgetting to put in the memory card :?(. Here are the pictures that were clear enough to see what was in it.

So there you have it. Did you know that it is really hard to take a picture while being tossed by the waves? And the fish don't really hold still for you to take there picture, go figure. I can't wait till I can take it to 30 or 60 feet deep where I won't have the buoyancy problems and maybe get some goot shots. The camera did work great though and we had a lot of fun trying to take pictures until we got the "memory full" screen only 12 pictures later. Oh well, next time we will remember the card.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

That's a New One

So having a semi-unusual name means people usually call me by the wrong name more often than they use the right one. And it's never spelled right. The number one mistake? Star. In college so many people called me Star I quickly learned to just answer to it. Other common offenders are Skyler, Ty, Summer, Sunny, and even Rain. But tonight at a Turtle Bay party I got a new one that I hadn't heard, one of Ryan's coworkers called me Song the entire night. The jury's still out on whether she forgot my name, she had had a few too many glasses of wine, or a combination of the two.
So good night from your Summer Star Song!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Few Bribes

It seems that family members are more reluctant to visit us in Hawaii than I had originally thought possible. In the year and a half that we've lived here Ryan and I have made three trips to the mainland and seen all of our family members (with the exception of Cody), but we have received only two visits despite at least a half a dozen promises from friends and family to come visit. Perhaps beaches and palm trees aren't enough to motivate the family, after all, there are beaches and palm trees in Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia too. So I thought I'd throw out a few "incentives" to try to get more visitors.
#1. Transportation. Ryan and I recently purchased a family vehicle (hospitals kind of frown on bringing babies home on motorcycles or city buses) so there would be no need to rent a car upon arrival. *Pictures coming soon*
#2. Goat Island. That's not the official name but that's what locals call it. Ask mom, it's like having your own private island. It's a shearwater and other sea bird nesting preserve so you aren't allowed to build fires, camp, or walk through the interior of the island which means that it's actually quite pristine. If you come in the fall or other time when the kids are in school, you're almost guaranteed to have it to yourself.
#3. Toys. Because Ryan works at a resort where tourists tend to discard the things they've bought in order to avoid lugging it all home, we've been able to acquire snorkeling gear, boogie boards, beach mats, camp chairs, beach pails and shovels, golf gear, a crib, and coolers. We also have a skimboard for those that relish the more dangerous sports.
#4. Chinatown. Sure every major city in the United States has a Chinatown, but ours is the best. Trust me.
#5. Humpback whales. If you come November - April you usually don't have to take a boat tour to see them. Ryan has actually been lucky enough to see one breach completely out of the water! PS - do not confuse beach with breach. We had an unfortunate incident in Laie on Memorial Day when a baby sperm whale was beached and eventually died.
#6. Hukilau Cafe. Featured on both the Travel Channel and Food Network, it's definitely a local hot spot. Ryan and I both love The Hungry Hawaiian breakfast plate. I shocked all the cooks and waitresses when my 120lb. haole self finished the whole thing plus an extra side of bacon. Their most famous offering is the Hukilau Burger. To see this delicious mountain of meat I recommend you log onto Netflix (or hack into Hillary's) and watch Man v. Food Honolulu.
#7. The Joneses. Where do Ryan and I go when we need to escape the dull drums of Laie? The Joneses in Koolina. They have a pool and a hot tub and air conditioning (something I never cared for until I hit about 5 1/2 months). They also live right next to the Mariott Resort which houses the shark and stingray lagoons (free!) and Disney's new Aulani resort.
#8. Housing. Sure our little studio can't really accommodate guests, but we do have connections in the Laie and surrounding community. Yes, our other housing plans fell through. So no giant hotel fees.
#9. Employee discount. However, if you did want to stay a couple nights in a luxurious resort, Ryan does get a discount on room rates for family members
#10. Shave Ice. You know you want it.
#11. Malasadas. You know you want this blissful confection too.
#12. Glow Putt. Since Ryan and I hadn't been on an actual date in months, we decided to do the Glow Putt course in Kaneohe. It definitely gets high marks for effects for having glow-in-the-dark balls, putters, score cards, and course outlines. Giant glowing elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys, trees, birds, and zebras adorn the walls of this jungle themed course. The course itself lacks overall difficulty, although some individual holes were fairly hard. All in all a great place that I can't wait to take visitors! *pictures coming soon*
#13. Holiday fun. You can read all about the (free) Turtle Bay bash and the Halloween madness that we experience on October 31st in last year's blog post. But there's also a lot of fun around Thanksgiving. Like many wards we have a Turkey Bowl, but we also have a bishop (Vonn Logan) who puts together a community imu every year. Here's how it works: it's a boy scout fundraiser so you buy a ticket from a young man in the ward, go buy the biggest aluminum roasting pan you can find, and stuff it to the max! Last year we did a 12lb. turkey and a large pork butt. Slow roasted to perfection overnight, the meat is juicy, tender, and oh so flavorful! While the pork absorbs the smoky flavors of the smoldering banana leaves, the turkey... not so much. A lot of people do their turkey in the imu, but this year Ryan and I are doing what many locals do - skipping the turkey and doing just pork butts. There's a lot to be thankful for!
#14. Byodo-In. Tucked away in the majestic Valley of the Temples is this peaceful Buddhist shrine. It's absolutely beautiful! Everything just makes for a beautiful picture: the misty Koolau mountains in the background, the black swans floating gently on the pond, the golden glimmer of the koi under the footbridge, etc. Plus there's a giant gong you can ring, a small hiking path, and the tallest gold statue of Buddha outside of Japan.
#15. Farmer's Market. I love that Hawaii is such a melting pot! And few places make that as evident as the farmer's market. Asian vegetables, tropical exotic fruits, Hawaiian seafood, and baked goods (the main attraction) ranging from Asian to European to Polynesian to Latin influence all make it worth while.
#16. Gunstock Ranch. I get killer discounts on horseback rides. The best is the 90 minute scenic ride. We also have 30 minute keiki rides for children under 7. There's also goats, sheep, rabbits, and miniature horses to pet.
#17. Tahitian Coconut Bread. It's one of our favorite treats and it takes a few hours to make since I do it completely from scratch - right down to harvesting the coconuts off the tree. Whether it's loaves or fry bread or delectable coconut dumplings, I would make it for you! Plus locals have told me I make it well which is one of the best compliments a haole can receive.
#18. Kama'aina rates. Many places like the zoo, the aquarium, the PCC, the water park, etc. have kama'aina discounts for residents and both Ryan and I are residents. We also have lots of discount cards to grocery stores and restaurants and other outlets (like Glow Putt).
#19. Turtle Bay. There's so much to do here! The beaches are nice, but there's also hiking trails that span the immense property. See the "Lost" banyan tree (I've actually never seen "Lost") or the site of the mermaid lagoon in Pirates 4 or scenes from Soul Surfer. There's also the resort stuff if you want to pay for it: segway tours, moped and bicycle rentals, horse rides on the beach, kayak tours, surf lessons, the spa, etc. Oh, and they have great restaurants like Leonardo's and Lei Lei's. The latter makes some of the best chocolate chip cookies in the universe. Plus the lobby of the resort has two stunningly beautiful McCaws.
#20. The grill master. Take advantage of Ryan's superb grilling skills as he makes tender, juicy, meaty, mouthwatering entrees on the gas grill. Who needs Bobby Flay?
#21. Food Fest. Similar to the farmer's market it's a true taste of the different flavors of the world. Plus there's entertainment and fun stuff for kids like inflatable jump castles and the like. See my post from last year.
#22. Spear fishing. Ryan enjoys spear fishing so much that one of the first things we bought in Hawaii was a three pronged spear. Thanks to Travis we have also recently acquired a spear gun.
#23. Art galleries. Mainly in Haleiwa. We enjoy going to them because they're free to enter and fun to see the different art styles and displays. It makes for great conversation too. I really enjoy walking through them.
#24. Motorcycle rides. The best way to see Hawaii is by motorcycle, no annoying windows or rooftops in your way. I prefer a 2001 Honda Shadow for the experience.
#25. Chinaman's Hat. Also an island with a different name, but locals and tourists just use the nickname. Swim or paddle out on a boogie board and then climb to the very tip top of the "hat". The view is incredible!
#26. The best reason of all - you'll get to see the cutest baby ever born in Hawaii!
I hope you all agree now that Hawaii can be a rewarding, and perhaps a little more affordable, vacation!