Browsing Tag



Happiness Files: Hawaii

November 13, 2014


It has become a bit of a tradition for J and I to sneak away to Hawaii for his birthday weekend and this year was a one for the books!  I felt it fitting for a long overdue Happiness Files.



Our first Hawaiian meal tradition



 The crew


 The gorgeous view from the Lobby at the Montage Kapalua Bay


The best nachos I’ve ever had – topped with Kahlua Pork (need I say more!?)


My favorite spot at the Montage’s Serenity pool (by day)


 The view (by night)


Turtle time!



Our fridges were stocked with these delicious lemonades.



Coconut macadamia nut pancakes at Gazebo.


The coolest walk-in hot tubs at the resort’s pool.


 Celebrating the birthday boy with some friends – new and old 🙂



But first…


…let’s take…


…a selfie (80th times a charm).

Until next time Hawaii!


Guide to Los Altos

October 27, 2014


This summer I vowed to work on being more “adventurous,” but with pool weather calling my name, I got a little side tracked.  Now that fall is finally upon us, I’ve dedicated to start visiting local towns and learning about where I live! First up? Los Altos.



The goal of the day was to visit First & Main Sports Lounge to watch J’s favorite team in action.  While this was a great sports bar, my idea of a fun day does not include 4 hours of beer, football and no windows, so my bestie Erin and I were able to break away for a little exploring and girls time.

Here were some of the highlights:


 Iced Pomegranate Tea at Red Berry Coffee Bar



My new favorite store – The Botanist/The Makery










Making succulent bowls to take home!


My favorite colored door



Enjoying rose macrons from Satura Cakes



Enjoying some shopping at one of my favorite college shops – Therapy


Bumble – the cutest little fark-to-fork restaurant



Another cute downtown restaurant – Forest on First


Between Los Altos Grill, Alys Grace and Voyageur du Temps all of your dining, shopping and coffee needs will be met! Which should be my next town to explore? Suggestions welcome!


Park City Recap

July 10, 2014

Utah 136

J and I are coming up on our 2nd year anniversary (eeii!) and wanted to take a fun trip somewhere new to commemorate it!  We ended up deciding on Park City, Utah and we couldn’t have been happier… here we’re some of the highlights:


Monty the Bernese Mountain Dog and Montage Deer Valley mascot

Utah 052 Utah 060 ZMontage10 Utah 061 ZMontage9 ZMontage8

High West Distillery – the most amazing lunch spot in town… and they make their own peach vodka and a bunch of delicious whiskeys (we loved the famous shisito peppers, trout salad and pulled pork sandwich)

ZMontage6 ZMontage7 ZMontage5

The Utah Olympic Park was a blast – it is essentially an adult playground with TONS of fun activities – a ropes course, zip lining, a 30,000 ft slide, and bobsledding (make sure to check out the skiers training in the Olympic pool).  I’d recommend getting the Gold Pass ($65) so you can have access to all of the rides/activities.

Utah 129 ZMontage20 Utah 101 ZMontage19

We grabbed lunch at the Foundry Grill at Sundance, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and the most AMAZING sugar cookie at 60 ft in the air on a gondola #yolo

ZMontage15 ZMontage14

The Montage provided a TON of fun activities (accessible through their rec center – Compass Sports).  We signed up for archery lessons… and let’s just say, I won’t be asked to channel my inner Merida anytime soon.

Montage1 Montage2 ZMontage3 ZMontage2 ZMontage11 ZMontage1

We were lucky enough to stay at the Montage Deer Valley, and let me just say – it doesn’t get any better than this spot – the decor, views and service are top notch and I am still trying to figure out a way to move in full time (they do have residences on the top floors… so a girl can dream!).

  Picture 2120 Picture 2023   Picture 2029 Picture 2061   Picture 2095

Some other Montage Deer Valley tips/highlights:

  • Take advantage of the beautiful Mercedes GL450 you can borrow for the day!  A great way to get around town…
  • Don’t miss Burgers and Bourbon onsite – one of our favorite dinner spots on location.  The fried pickles, Kobe hot dog, Lux burger and whiskey cocktails are NOT to be missed!
  • Apex (the fine dining establishment on site) has an amazing tableside Caesar salad, and a delicious Waygu beef with duck fat fries… also be sure to try their Thymeless cocktail invented by their sommelier!
  • The live music at the Vista Terrace is next level. Grab a glass of red and get some prime seating in front of the fireplace.
  • If you love smore’s this is your place – 7 types of homemade marshmallows – cinnamon, mocha, peppermint, vanilla, caramel, chocolate (don’t worry they have good ol’ Jet Puff too!) and 2 kinds of chocolate!
  • We also were lucky enough to tour the back kitchens.  Typically a resort of this size works off of ONE kitchen, but the Montage is proud of their 4 onsite kitchens – one dedicated JUST to creating the amazing truffles put on your pillow each night (coconut was my favorite flavor!)

Utah 096

Thank you the Hamaway’s and Montage Deer Valley for such a memorable weekend… we are so appreciative!






Hawaii 2014 Recap

March 31, 2014

*There were some issues with my website transition… so please click here for this full post!


Each and every year I look forward to our annual family vacation, but this year we mixed it up a bit, which resulted in my favorite trip yet! Here are a few fun things we added to our itinerary (make sure to check them out if you ever are in Maui!)…

  • Restaurants
    • We had a slightly larger group this year, and going during spring break can be a bit of a struggle to schedule reservation-wise, but here is what we did (tip: make reservations as soon as possible – as in months in advance, you can always cancel)
      • Sansei Sushi – I advise 7pm reservations – there isn’t a view from this resaturat, so feel free to head to the Ritz next door for cocktails and the sunset, then enjoy the best sushi on the island (Must Haves: Mango Crab Hand Roll, Panko Ahi Roll, Sansei Special Roll)
      • Honu – This on-the-water restaurant is one of my favorites.  It is worth leaving the beach early to score a 5:30pm reservation because the sunset view can’t be beat (must haves: Skinny Chi cocktail, burrata appetizer, oysters, kale salad and macarons)
      • Mala – Honu’s sister restaurant, Mala is another one of our favorites.  Another spot where the early bird gets the worm, the view is gorgeous and food is amazing (must haves: ahi bruschetta, mahi mahi ceviche and Mai Tai cocktail)
      • Cool Cats or Cheeseburger in Paradise – both of these spots have great burgers and are great spots for a relaxed dinner after a day in the sun.  Cheeseburger in Paradise has a great water front location and Cool Cats has great live music every night… both have amazing burgers.
      • Star Noodle – This delicious noodle house is owned by a top competitor on Top Chef.  It doesn’t have an amazing location so I recommend a 7pm or later reservation – you won’t be catching any sunsets from there, but don’t let that deter you for stopping by – the food and decor are great (must haves: garlic noodles, ahi avo, pad thai and pork belly bacon and eggs.
      • Leoda’s – The same chef heads Leoda’s kitchen, and this place is so good my family went twice in ONE DAY. It’s super chill, and a great spot for grabbing breakfast or dinner when you need a night to chill.  You can BYOB with no corkage fee which is great too! I highly recommend picking up some goodies for your flight back home – they even have a airline lunch pack available (must haves: fried salad – I’M OBSESSED, breakfast sandwich, and any of their pies).
  • Sail and Snorkel Day 
    • Each and every year we look forward to setting sail on the Hula Girl.  The food, service and boat are all next level, and the few extra bucks you’ll pay (compared to the Teralani, Trilogy, Gemini, etc.) are well worth it (in my opinion).
    • This trip we were a hundred yards away from breaching mom AND baby whales.  It was crazy.
    • Also, make sure to get the fresh fish special for lunch, although I hear the pulled pork is great for all of you meat eaters.
  • Paia Day
    • Hiked Twin Falls at the entrance of Hana
    • Check out the surfers at Kuau Cove or go for a walk on the beach
    • Grab lunch in town at Paia Fish Market
      • We highly recommend the fish tacos or Mahi Mahi burger
      • GET there early (they open at 11am) and there is always a line
    • Head into Rock & Brews for a pre-beach Pina Colada (BEST of the trip!)
    • Enjoy some shopping in town (Letarte Swimwear and Tamara Catz Boutique are great stops)
    • Pack a towel and make your way down to the beach for a couple hours (a little windy, but some great surf – bring a boogie board!)
    • Cool off at Tobi’s Shaved Ice
      • MUST order their Poke there.  We had the Sriracha topped one… WOW.
      • Obviously don’t forget the snow cones… and make sure to get it with the macadamia nut ice cream!
    • Grab a drinking coconut for the drive home at the Maui Coconut Station on Honoapiilani Hwy

Overall it was a VERY memorable week with all of my favorite people. It’s so nice to have a trip that leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to go… sad to leave the Aloha state, but happy to be back! IMG_0565