Featured Oahu Favorite: Waimea Valley

After arriving on Oahu, and amid the hectic search for a place to live, Hubs and I were able to escape for a day to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary by re-visiting a special place.

Driving along Oahu's famed North Shore along the Kamehameha Highway, you will come to the beautiful curved beach of Waimea Bay, where surfers and freedivers gather. But, turning South into the entrance to Waimea Valley you will find a spot where ancient Hawaiian kings and high priests lived!

After you've parked your car, you will enter near the gift shop and food concession stand. We decided to fortify ourselves with one of the tasty local offerings before hitting the path toward the waterfall.  Joining us for lunch was our favorite friend, "Mr. Peacock". He and several of his lady friends walk around looking for a handout (please, DON'T feed them), or can be found roosting on the stair rails near the ladies room. It's great to watch and photograph them, but please respect their space. When the male is guarding his hens, he might just give you a display of his beautiful plumage.
Now its time go get your tickets and begin the leisurely walk up the 3/4 mile trail to the waterfall. But, wait...there is a lot to see before you get to the ticket booth!  Don't hurry, this is what a tropical paradise is all about.  I can advise anyone able-bodied to climb the stone steps, and explore beyond the paved path. You will enter a world of Ancient Hawaiian Archaeological Sites and World Class Botanical Garden Collections, as well as wildlife and cultural activities.  If walking is difficult, or the day is too warm for vigorous exercise, you may wish to pay a small fee to take a ride up to the waterfall, and perhaps walk back.
Once at the Waihī Waterfall, there is an opportunity to swim in the pool and sit under the 45-foot falls. The friendly lifeguards are easily persuaded to take a photo for you, so that you may remember this beautiful day.

When planning your visit to Waimea Valley, I recommend comfortable walking shoes, bug spray and sunscreen. Although much of the walk is naturally shaded, there is plenty of opportunity for a sunburn to occur! If you want to swim at the waterfall, take a swimsuit and towel. There are changing booths at the falls; check with the lifeguard before entering the pool.  Lastly, don't forget your camera!  All of the photos you see I took with my phone. It's hard to take a bad picture in the lovely Waimea Valley!

On your way down, keep your eyes open for a fork in the road...it leads to a hidden gem called Palm Meadow where you will find a treasure trove of Hibiscus Hybrids. (That's where I got almost all of the shots of the flowers.)

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Jewelry Box Revival

Setting up a new household from scratch is no easy task. It seems like, just as I think my list has finally been filled, I add more items! It's amazing what you can do without, and what you find you'd really like to have to make life a little sweeter.

I located several thrift shops in my area, and set off to explore them.  One of the little treasures I found was a charming little jewelry box, that was just begging for some attention.

I was very excited about starting this project, but since I had few craft supplies to work with, I had to get creative.  I used just white and black craft paint, Mod Podge, and one of those green scrubbers (since I had no sandpaper).  When I packed up my craft room, I had slipped a few pieces of scrapbook paper into a box I was mailing to our new home in Hawaii, so I utilized those as well.
1. Before - just $4.99 from Goodwill.
2. Rub off the shine with a green scrub pad (or sandpaper).
3. Choose scrapbook paper embellishments.
4. Back the "window" with scrapbook paper, using clear glue tabs.
5. Paint on 2 coats of craft paint in desired color. I blended together a soft "dove gray".
When the second coat of paint is dry, brush on Mod Podge on the areas you wish to embellish with scrapbook paper. After applying, brush on a top coat of Mod Podge. (I used the gloss version.)
Once everything is very dry, use your scrubbie or sandpaper to lightly remove some of the paint for a shabby-chic look.
So that's my first little "revival" that I've created in our new Hawaii home. What do you think?
Don't worry, I'll still be bombarding you with photos of our island, and telling you about the fun we are having here!
Aloha and...

Our Hawaii Home

We landed on the beautiful island of Oahu just 2-1/2 weeks ago, and SO much has happened since then! We retrieved our car and motorcycle from the shipping port, house hunted for about 4 days, and finally leased an adorable apartment just North of Pearl Harbor.  Throw in our 31st wedding anniversary last week, (which we celebrated by going up to North Shore and Waimea Valley...such a GREAT day), registering our vehicles, and furnishing our new home - We have been BUSY!

The collage of photos above shows our little courtyard area, and a few photos of the inside of the apartment. We've shopped and shopped since getting our new place...remember that we came over here with just 16 boxes via Standard Post US Mail, and our 4 suitcases? Yes, it was kinda scary, but we budgeted carefully and put aside what we thought we would need to set up housekeeping from scratch.  So far, we've kept to our budget!

Our apartment is about 900 square feet. Our house in Idaho was over 1800 square feet...can we say "down-sizing"? However, since it's just Hubs and I, the space feels larger; I think that's partly due to the open-concept of the living room, dining room and kitchen. Our bedroom also feels spacious and we have a good amount of storage space. The spare room, which will eventually turn into a true Guest Room, is nice-sized and has closet organizers already built-in. There are also mirrored doors on the large closets.  We have 2 full bathrooms, one which also houses the stacked washer/dryer combo. It's not the tiny-sized one, it's full-size! (At just 5-feet tall, I'm almost too short for reaching into the dryer, but I purchased a step-stool, if needed!)

When searching for a home, we looked at a small, top-floor apartment on the 7th floor, which had a pool for the tenants (close to work, highest priced); a small condo on the 20th floor with a FABULOUS view directly overlooking Pearl Harbor including the USS Arizona Memorial (the view was the only thing going for it); a small, ground floor apartment in a Very, Very Large Complex (carpeted and small-feeling); an "Ohana"-style apartment which we loved, but the parking on the streets was bumper-to-bumper and difficult to maneuver through (longest commute for Hubs).
We actually saw 2 apartments in the building we now live in. The other one was on the second floor at the opposite end of the building, with clean, WHITE carpeting. It actually scared me to think of spilling something on that carpet!!
We fell in love with this place because of it's location on the ground level; the lanai-patio and courtyard (vs. a lanai-balcony only), and the vinyl wood-look flooring throughout. The flooring is easy care and because it's the same throughout the entire apartment, it gives a more spacious feel. The grounds outside are well-kept and very lush and green (no maintenance for us!). There are flowers everywhere! Hibiscus and Plumeria grow right outside our door.

Rose-Ringed Parakeet
And finally, there is this guy, and about 200 or so of his cousins. They live/ hang out in the trees outside our backyard area. Every dawn and every dusk, they fly around squawking and chirping. They swoop around from tree to tree, and occasionally come down to rest on a hibiscus shrub. My guess is that they are eating bugs...But they are very, very loud. Now, I have to say, I am NOT bothered by them. They "do their thing" for about 30 minutes, twice a day and I'm fine with it. It's all part of living on a tropical island in paradise!