20 May 2017

That's right, less than six weeks to go until we're married. Married!!! I can barely believe it! Where has this last year gone? If anyone knows, please let me know! Both Todd and I agree with full certainty that this has been the fastest year of our lives, with the period of Christmas until now taking home the trophy. Something tells me that these next six weeks are going to swoop in and blow that other time frame out of the water though.

A strange little thing happened when we got back from our trip to Maui the middle of March; I went from just having the realization that we're getting married, to full on thinking about it every day. That's right, I'll be the first to admit, I've completely moved over to the bride dark side. I've gotten to the point where I think about our wedding every single day. I honestly don't know what's come over me, but I often wonder if this feeling happens to all brides-to-be in the time leading up to their wedding? I'd like to think that's normal, or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Are there some nerves? A little! Is there a lot of excitement? You betcha! But, I think what happens at this point is that there's an awful lot of wedding related things that takes up an awful lot of space in that head of yours as the big day gets closer. Over the last month or two, there's rarely been any days that I haven't had to do, or even think about, some type of wedding thing!

A long time ago I remember hearing that wedding planning comes in various stages, and now I know whoever said that was absolutely right! So far I've experienced three! Stage one is obviously the beginning of the planning. It's where you take care of the bigger things that needs to be decided. You set a date, book a venue, book your photographer, decorator, you name it; it's when you lock all of those important details in! It's at this stage where you have a lot of room to breathe since you're not on any time constraints, but the decisions you're making at this point are some of the toughest you'll have to make!

The second stage is the longest one, but probably the most stress-free one out of them all. You're excited that you're getting married so you want to start diving head first into all of the details, but unfortunately there's not much planning that happens here, so your wedding has to get put on the back burner for a little while (except you really crank up your pinterest searching looking at all of the pretty things that you think you're going to have at your wedding!). Your wedding feels so far away, and you kind of wish it was either much sooner or that there were more things you could be doing at this point to help make things easier on you later. But, there's not, so you just have to sit back and carry on with your pinterest searching!

And then there's the third stage; the one that I feel like I'm in right now! The to do list that you created a long time ago now has all of those small items on it that you can do, and actually have to do!! They're not just to-do items any more that are sitting pretty waiting for their time. Their time has come right now. And there's an awful lot of them!! You catch yourself wondering how you're going to get them all done in time, while asking yourself how everything is supposed to come together from here.

So, for those who have been through this before, my question to you is if there's another stage that's coming? I have a funny feeling there is a fourth one that's soon coming my way! I kind of picture it happening the week of our wedding as I'm pulling my hair out and driving everyone around me bat shit crazy with my wedding anxiety! I'd really love to stay away from this stage if at all possible!

I'm hoping next week to chat and do an update on some of the wedding things that has been happening around here lately! I'm actually heading to Toronto to spend the long weekend with my sister and her family...and to pick up my wedding dress!! I haven't seen it (nor have I looked at one single image of it) since August, so I'm pretty excited, and not to mention, nervous about trying it on! Wish me luck!!!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Until next time.


14 May 2017

I feel like I should start this off with a warning that this may go down as the longest blog post in the history of all posts. Or at least right now that's how it feels like it's going to be! I originally didn't think I would have that much to talk about, but after writing (and then publishing) the last post on our trip to Maui, I started thinking about all of the things I wanted to share. And it was a lot. So, now that you've been fully warned, let's get right to it!

Where we stayed:
Days Inn Maui Oceanfront - Kihei
Sheraton Maui Resort - Lahaina / Kaanapali

To us, our trip felt like it was seperated into two parts because we stayed at two different places/ locations while we were there. Since Maui isn't that big, by doing this we didn't lose much time checking out of one place and then driving and checking into another (I think the drive itself was only about an hour). We absolutely loved how we planned this trip and it was probably the one thing we did that we were the happiest with.

The first five nights were spent in Kihei (pronounced key-hey...I figured I'd give you that little lesson considering it took us right until the end to finally get the hang of how to say it!). We actually got the recommendation to stay here on Jillian Harris's blog for those looking to stay somewhere on a budget. After doing a quick Expedia search and seeing the prices of hotels and rentals, we quickly realized that we were, in fact, going to be on a budget. And my imaginary BFF did not let us down. While the rooms were small, the hotel was sitting on the perfect beach in the perfect location. We loved Kiehi, and we also loved having Wailea right next door (there were many drives taken in Wailea so we could admire all the houses and how beautiful everything there was). It was during our time here at the Days Inn that we made sure to do some of the bigger things we had planned to do on the island.

By saving a bit more on our first hotel, we decided to splurge a little more on our second place where we'd be spending the last three nights. We figured since the Sheraton was a resort (a beautiful one at that), we'd want to spend more time here just relaxing by the pool and on their beach, which by the way had ahhhhmazing snorkelling. Like amazing! I have never seen so many colourful fish, and we actually got to see and swim with two ginormous turtles there. We left our last few days at this hotel completely open, and it was the perfect way to end our vacation.

While there's no comparison in terms of which hotel was nicer (the Sheraton for the win!), we're both pretty torn on which area we liked better; Kihei or Lahaina. Beach access seemed a bit easier in Kihei (in terms of finding a million to chose from), but Lahaina had some cute little streets with great restaurants and shops. But again, we loved both, and regardless of where we stayed, everything was pretty accessible from both areas. I'd highly recommend both of these places if you want the best of both worlds!!

The top three bucket list things we did:
The Road to Hana
Sunrise at Haleakala Summit
Luau at the Old Lahaina Luau

(1) The Road to Hana

If you've ever heard anything about Maui, I'm pretty sure then you've also heard about the Road to Hana. As the name suggests, it's a road that leads to the town of Hana, but ironically Hana isn't the main attraction; it's all the stops along your way that makes this the number one recommended thing to do in Maui. It's an all day event, and trust me when I say it's a very long day. But also trust me when I say it's so worth being trapped in a vehicle for the majority of that long day while navigating some of the craziest roads you probably will ever experience. Maui is so beautiful, and you really get to see just how beautiful it is along this road.

Since we're both not big on doing tours, we decided to brave this journey ourselves. We were told that if we wanted to tackle the Road to Hana in one day that we should leave at the crack of dawn. So, by 6:30 we were at the nearest gas station fueling up, grabbing coffees and buying the Road to Hana audio cd that was recommended to us. While it got annoying sometimes having to stop or rewind the cd a bunch of times, we could not have imagined doing this without it. While the road itself is very straightforward (not literally, might I add), there are so many amazing stops to make along the way that we would have never known existed if it wasn't for the cd.

Towards the end of our time in Maui though, we got to talking to some regular Maui visitors who have done the Road to Hana multiple times, and they all told us they enjoyed the day much more on the tour than when they did it themselves. While we loved experiencing the day just ourselves and on our own time, I do feel like there may have been some benefits by going with the tour. We realized later that we accidentally missed some pretty good stops along the way. And there were other stops that we purposely missed because we had stopped so much at the beginning, we were so pressed for time towards the later part of the day. Like I said, it's a very long day and knowing how to prioritize the stops is important!

But again, the drive is totally do-able on your own! Yes, the roads are very narrow and very windy, but that's definitely half the fun! We were told to turn around at Hana and drive back the way we originally came because the roads continue to get even worse, but apparently we love a good adventure so we decided to keep going. But they were right, the roads got even narrower and a lot more windy. And not to mention we met some of the speediest local drivers on this road!! Thank goodness Todd was driving because I'm pretty sure I would have drove us off a cliff!

If we ever get the chance to go back, I would love to do the Road to Hana again because I'm pretty sure it would be completely different doing it a second time around. There's just so much to see!

I'm not going to get into any detail about some of the stops we made (because I'd need at least another month to write all about that, or in my blogging timeline, a year!!!), but here's a great blog post if you're interested in finding out more about the Road to Hana.

(2) Sunrise at Haleakala Summit

This is another thing that I think the majority of people will tell you to do when going to Maui for the first time, and I have to agree, although it's something I think you'd only want to do once. To see the sunrise at the summit, it obviously means you have to get up early...super, super early!! I believe we were left our hotel by 4 that morning. Yikes! But, thankfully we still were not adjusted to the time difference, so it wasn't quite as bad as what it seemed! The day we did this was the day we switched hotels, and it worked out great because we were checked in and settled away at the Sheraton before noon and then we had the rest of the day to relax (and nap) by the pool!! Thank you, cabana! 

Here's a few things you need to know about going. First, and most importantly, you need to buy tickets before going. We did not know this before we got to Maui (apparently this was only put into place a month before we were there to ensure the summit doesn't get too crowded), so when we found out while we were there and went online to get tickets, they were all sold out. Luckily they put out additional tickets 48 hours in advanced for each day, so we made sure that at 4:00pm we were online to get them! We would have been super disappointed if we had of missed this.

Second, make sure you give yourself enough time to get there early. Even by leaving at 4:00, there were times along the drive (especially once we reached the summit) that we felt rushed and worried that we were going to miss the sunrise. If you're getting up that early, you at least want to make sure you get to see what it is you missed those extra hours of sleep for.  And lastly, it's freaking cold at the summit!! I remember reading about how cold it can get beforehand, and my first thought was "hey, I'm Canadian, I'm pretty sure I can handle some cold Maui temperatures". Lemme tell you, I was so very wrong. With only leggings and a sweater on, I perished! I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the majority of people there with winter jackets and gloves on! I had to run in place for the entire time we were there to try and warm up. Thankfully I had a pretty amazing view...

(3) Old Lahaina Luau

Ahh, the Luau, the night I was probably looking forward to the most, and probably the thing I enjoyed the most! If you really want to feel like you're in Hawaii, then you definitely have to go to a Luau. There's so many ones you can chose from on the island, but since we heard the Old Lahaina Luau was the best, we made sure to buy our tickets a few months beforehand.

There was plenty of fun entertainment, a delicious Hawaiian buffet, and an open bar...hello unlimited mai-tai's! We had a front row seat on the floor...literally! We ate sitting on a pillow on the floor!! While it was super fun for the first little while, after about two hours in, once the show had started, we found ourselves sprawling out and leaning against the nearest brick wall in no time!!

So, now that you know where we stayed and some of the things we did, let's talk right quick about the best part....the food! We got to try a lot of different places all over Maui and there were some we absolutely loved.

Our favourite places we ate:
Monkeypod - Wailea (a must for dinner and drinks!)
Kihei Cafe - Kihei (cute breakfast spot!)
Ohana Seafood & Grill - Kihei (the Ohana burger was so good!)
Flatbread and Company - Paia
The Gazebo - Lahaina (great breakfast food)
Kimos - Lahaina
Ululani's shaved ice

The number one place we wanted to try in Maui was Mama's Fish House, but unfortunately we didn't make it there. Mama's is supposed to be the top restaurant in all of Maui; one that's known for the experience just as much as the food. We were hoping to go there on our last night, but after a full week of running up a major food bill, we decided to opt for something a little closer to our hotel and a lot more budget friendly. It actually worked out pretty great though, because while looking for somewhere to eat, we discovered there was a whole other bustling world just a quick walk up the beach from us - Whalers Village.

Well, I think that's about everything I wanted to chat about! Phewwww, I'm done!!! Are you still around? God bless you if you are! :)

Until next time.


30 April 2017

I've spent, what feels like, forever going through all of our vacation photos deciding which ones should make the cut, and I still have, again what feels like, a bazillion that I want to share!! One thing I did realize while I was going through all of our pictures though was just how much I love doing these travel recaps. I love getting to see our trip all over again, and it's such a great way to remember things that you'd otherwise forget. We've only been back a little over a month and I'm actually feeling a little foggy on some of the things already. But thankfully I'll be able to come back here in the months or years to follow, and I'll be refreshed again in no time.

The downside to these recaps though is that they actually do take forever. So much work goes into these posts. Between the organizing, editing and the uploading of the photos, and then writing the post, it's so time consuming. But, not to worry because they are one of my favourites to do!! 

I figured for now I'll just chat a little bit about our time in Maui (with those bazillion photos, of course), but I'll do another post on more of the details of our trip later (things we did, where we ate, where we stayed, etc). And hopefully if you're ever thinking about going there yourself, this recap might help you (like other bloggers posts did for me....I'm a firm believer that bloggers give some of the best travel experiences out there).  So, let's get started! Maui, here we come...again!!

Maui was definitely our type of vacation spot! It was the perfect mix of relaxation with great weather and beautiful beaches, but it also had soooo much that you could see and do. Since we arrived late at night, the very next morning when we woke up early (thank you, time difference), we hopped in our jeep rental and just started driving, eager to explore every inch of the island!! From the moment we left our hotel, we were amazed at how beautiful the scenery was. Everything was so green and lush, just perfectly manicured, and you couldn't help but immediately feel just how laid back everyone was around us. I guess how could you not be laid back at a place like this?

We loved that you could drive for only minutes and find secluded beaches that you never knew existed. We loved seeing the surf boards tied on everyones vehicles at every stop we made, and then later seeing all of those suffers in action in the crazy waves!

Driving around Maui was a breeze, which made it so easy and much more enjoyable getting to explore new places. Although I wasn't the driver, it took me no time to get my bearings as to how to get around, and that speaks volumes because I swear I'm the worlds worst person at finding my way around new places!

Another thing we discovered pretty quickly was just how expensive Maui was though. The hotels, the food, the drinks, you name it, it was super costly. 
And since we were staying at a resort during the last few days we were there, we especially found it hard getting used to the prices since, up until then, we had only stayed at resorts that have been all inclusives. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my wedding diet), I wasn't able to drink my usual jugs of pina colada before noon! But have no fear, we made sure to make lots of purchases from the liquor stores. Every morning before we left, we always made sure that our trusty little ten dollar cooler that we bought was with us and, of course, loaded down! 

We got very, very lucky with the weather while we were there. The few days leading up to our trip I had my eye on the weather like a hawk. A very obsessive hawk, might I add. Todd really loves this about me. Ha! Actually, I think this is one of the things I do that bugs Todd the most (this, or leaving every single cupboard in our kitchen left open!)! But I just can't help it, I really can't, especially when our trip is supposed to involve 99.9% of outdoor things!

So yes, I creeped the weather channel hard before we left and it was calling for rain the first 5 days that we were there. Of course I was disappointed, but I kept trying to tell myself that maybe Hawaii was like the Caribbean; just a downpour of rain for an hour and then sunny blue skies for the remainder of the day. But unfortunately when we arrived that first night, it was raining...hard. And after a few hours of tramping through the water in my flip flops, I was beginning to realize that these next few days might not just be quick rain showers.

The next morning though started off great and my spirits were completely lifted, until about lunch time when the rain struck again. I have never seen rain like that in my life. Within hours some of the roads were being shut down due to the flooding (leaving us stuck in traffic at one point for over an hour). So when we returned to our hotel later that evening, I did what any normal person would do; I sat on the edge of the bed all night, crossed legged, watching every news and weather channel on the tv. And I think my heart sank a little when I heard every single one of them telling me that flood warnings were issued all throughout Maui over the next few days. Say wha?!?

We decided to push off some of the bigger things we had planned to do while we were there for the first days, but ironically, every day after would pass and there wouldn't be one rain drop in sight. Not one. After about three days in (even with heavy rainfall warnings still being issued), there was no more attention given to the weather, and we had an entire trip filled with beautiful days! The weather gods had definitely come through for us!!!

So, the point of that whole story is that 1) the weather on our vacation was fantastic, 2) don't pay too much attention to the weather forecast, and most importantly 3) I'm a little crazy! You can ask Todd for further verification on all three of those if needed! :)

On our flight back home, me and Todd got to talking about some of the things we enjoyed the most about our trip. It's a fun little thing we usually do at the end of a vacation; just talking about our trip overall, reliving some funny stories and then picking some of our favourite things.

We both agreed that our funniest story happened on our first night there. While it was definitely a "you had to be there" type of moment, I'll share the gist real quick - it involved somehow winding up at a fancy restaurant that was way over our budget (and preference) in our beach wear, soaking wet, with our backpacks on! To this day, we still don't know how they didn't turn us away!!! We were too embarrassed to leave again, but still too embarrassed to actually enjoy our meal. I don't think we have ever laughed so hard (and eaten so fast) at a restaurant before. Todd says he'll forever have the image of me walking in with my backpack on and my head held high!!

One of my favourite things about Maui in general though had to be the beautiful sunsets. Just like with the rain, I have never seen such beautiful sunsets in my life. There were times I would rush out of our hotel room just to make sure I wouldn't miss seeing them!!

I mean....just look!!

As for some of our favourite things that we did?  Well, I'll chat allllll about that in the next post!

Until next time.