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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!


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



February 3, 2014

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

IMG_6239 Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend a couple days at the gorgeous Cordevalle Resort in San Martin, CA.  Jeremy and I love our time in Carmel, but were so happy to find such a serene place less than an hour from our home!



If you live in the Bay Area, or are in the mood to take a little adventure, I highly recommend making the trip to Cordevalle.  Their rooms are amazingly spacious and with only 45 bungalows on site, it is a super intimate resort.


If you want to venture out of their amazing rooms (complete with lounge chairs on your balcony and a gorgeous bathtub overlooking the valley), there is more than enough to explore on the premise.  I spent my mornings on their amazing 2.5 mile hiking path (with stunning views), days by the pool and evenings by their cozy fire pits (complete with plush blankets and smores).  Their golf course is definitely the piece de resistance of the facility and I definitely was loving having the pool all to my self despite a fully booked golf course 🙂



They have multiple restaurant options on site, and we were more than happy to dine there all weekend.   Their presentation is amazing, and their team of people on site are so nice and helpful.




Everyone went above and beyond to make it a very special weekend.  Thank you to the Cordevalle/Rosewood team, and we can’t wait for our next trip back!


In the mean time, if you have a special occasion coming up, or want to stop by for a cocktail at their bar after a day of wine tasting in Gilroy or Morgan Hill, I definitely recommend checking it out!