Thursday, January 31, 2008

We walked and walked and walked...

I blogged before about how I wished we had a car in Oahu to get around the island. Both Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay were easily reachable by riding theBus. However, the southeast part of Oahu proved to be challenge, but still, I am proud to say that Luke and I did it!

As always, we took Bus #22, the Beach Bus. The bus stopped at Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay first. After people were dropped off at Hanauma Bay, that was when we started to pay attention as to where we would get off. We wanted to see 2 places that day - the Halona Blowhole Area and Makapu'u Point and its coastal lighthouse. The problem was the bus didn't stop directly in front of those places. So we had to get off at the nearest stop and walk.

Not really knowing where to get off, Luke and I decided to get off at the Sandy Beach stop. Sandy Beach is one of the most dangerous beaches on the island. We saw the reason. The waves were humongous. We saw this sign.

Because we got off past the Halona Blowhole Area, we knew we had to walk back. In fact, we could see the Blowhold Area from Sandy Beach, we just had to walk to it. So we walked along the coastal line and took a few pictures along the way. It was extremely windy, but gorgeous.

We had to walk on fields with lots of tall wild grass. They made my legs itch.

We walked for roughly 15 minutes and reached the Blowhole Lookout. There were tons of tour buses in the parking lot. Luke and I have an inside joke on tour buses. We call people who join tour groups "cows," because they get on and off as they are directed. I hope this is not offensive to anybody because we were "cows" several times on our first cruise. In fact, I wanted to be a "cow" that day so I didn't have to deal with theBus and walking. =]

We waited for the water to spout just right. The views of coastal rock formulations and crashing surf were really a sight to see.

After we saw enough of the Blowhole, we walked back to Sandy Beach and waited for the bus to come. Luckily we timed just right and didn't have to wait for long.

Me waiting for the bus. Next stop, the lighthouse!

The bus this time dropped us off in front of a golf course and we had to walk to the lighthouse. It was a longer walk and we walked right on a major road. It wasn't safe, but at least there weren't that many cars. *This is where if you have your own transportation, things get a lot easier*

Finally we reached the lighthouse gate, but it was still more than a mile hike to the lighthouse. So we started walking... Then Luke saw this little lookout off the main path and got this brilliant idea that we should go. I didn't want to because the path there was covered in tall grass. At the end, he won and here I was, walking (can you see me?). I had no idea that he was so far behind me! It was the worst. walk. ever. Never again.

At the end of that horrible hike.

Finally we made our way back to the beginning and started hiking toward the lighthouse. The road to the lighthouse was uphill and windy. It was long too. I had no idea it would be that long. We were both huffing and puffing by the time we reached the top. My legs were killing me by then, especially since we made that little detour.

On the top, gazing out to the deep blue sea.

From the top, we saw two off-shore islands. The larger one is the Manana Island, also known as the Rabbit Island. The front smaller one is the Kaohikaipu Island. Apparently there is a coral reef between the islands that some divers go to.

Can you see the little orange roof? That's the Sea Life Park. If you ever seen the movie 50 First Dates, Adam Sandler's character, Henry Roth, worked at Sea Life Park as a veterinarian. We watched the movie after we came back from Hawaii. We even saw those 2 offshore islands featured in the movie!

This lighthouse was also in the movie. Only in the movie, Henry and Lucy (Drew Barrymore) stood right next to the lighthouse. In real life, we didn't even see a path down there.

What were we looking at?

This. Magnificent. View. And our shoes.

On the way down, Luke left our mark. We saw writings on other cacti and decided to do the same.

I doubt we will be able to find it again though. =]

We played with the camera, trying to take artistic shots.

Another whale-spotting spot, but we didn't see anything. Gosh darnit!

I love my LL Bean bag, we carried it everywhere in Hawaii.

After we came back down, we walked a bit further to another roadside lookout. It offered pretty much the same view, just at different angles.

It was a day full of walking. After this picture, we had to walk a long way back to the golf course and rode the bus back to our hotel. Even though it was a tough day, I was glad we got to see the southeast coastline....without a car nonetheless!

Have a fabulous time in Oahu Andy! I hope my postings helped!!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

there is a story behind these necklaces

It was the last day of our honeymoon and we were ready to shop! Before we left for the trip, Luke told me that he wanted to buy a Hawaiian Slipper pendent from Na Hoku for me. After all, we used a little picture of slippers on our wedding Save the Date, programs, website, and t-shirts.

There are numerous Na Hoku stores in Oahu, we picked the store inside the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We were helped by a nice lady who showed me the different designs of Hawaiian Slipper. They come in yellow gold, white gold, with diamonds, with mother of pearl inlay, with sapphires…the list goes on. At first I was a bit overwhelmed. After we told her that we were looking for white gold (since it didn’t come in platinum), she quickly narrowed down the choices for me. I picked a simple design, white gold with little diamonds. It has that extra sparkle. Perfect. Mahalo Gumby!

While ringing up the purchase, the lady started to chat with us. She told us she was from Las Vegas, had been in Hawaii for 2 years, and was starting to get island fever. After talking about her for a bit, she asked about us. We told her we were married in September and this was our belated honeymoon. After she learned that, she immediately informed us that they have a gift for every honeymoon couple (in reality, they probably have a gift for everyone) and led us to The Pearl Factory (just a few steps away, also inside HHV).

We were greeted by another nice lady. She told us that we can have our pick of any pearl oyster in the bucket (for free). Taking her advice, I picked the ugliest oyster using a rubber tong, put it on the tray, and handed it to her. She said before she can open the oyster, we all have to tap the tray 3 times with our perspective instruments (her with an oyster opener and us with the rubber tong) and yell “ALOHA”. It’s tradition, she insisted. So we tapped 3 times and yelled ALOHA. There were people walking all around us, but I don’t think anyone paid attention. The lady later said that we were not shy at all because some of her customers refused to do it.

She opened the oyster and found a lovely blue oyster inside. I’ve never seen a blue oyster before so I was pretty excited. It means wisdom, apparently. She proceeded to show us all the different settings we can buy to mount this pearl. I was ready to just say thank you and walk away, but Luke wanted to turn it into a necklace. We decided on a turtle setting (can you guess why?).

While she was working hard to put the necklace togehter, she told us to pick another pearl oyster (again, for free). Following the same procedure, I picked one and what we found inside was a bigger gold pearl! Gold means prosperity. We saw that the gold pearl would fit better inside the turtle so we decided to use that instead. It did fit better, the little turtle’s “tummy” is full and round with this pearl. This left us with the blue pearl, still mount-less. Again, I was fine with that, but Luke wanted to pick a new setting for the blue pearl. We picked the plumeria setting.

The lady then said AGAIN to pick ANOTHER one on the house. I did and this time was a smaller green pearl. She didn’t try to sell us another setting. I wasn’t going to buy it anyway, NO MATTER WHAT.

So we went to HHV for a Hawaiian Slipper and left with 3 new necklaces! For those who know me, I never buy expensive jewelries for myself. As I posted before, it wasn’t until after I met Luke that I started to have a collection of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. I am happy that Luke bought them for me because I’d never have on my own. Now not only I have pictures to remind me of our Hawaiian honeymoon, I also have these necklaces. They will be cherished.

::hugs to ahbow::

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Taking It To The Next Level

Fantastic News!

I am now confident to say that there are at least a whopping 5 {sugarlens} readers! I am excited and you should be too!

{sugarlens} has always been capable of RSS feed, meaning that using RSS readers such as Google Reader, NewsGator, or Yahoo, you can read (sugarlens} posts without having to come to {sugarlens} blog.

Sounds confusing? To explain it in plain terms (because that's the only way I know how), by signing up for an account with any of the RSS readers, you can pull new content from your favorite websites (most blogs and websites have RSS feeds) and dump them all into one place.

I will give an example. Using Google Reader, I subscribe to 3 websites - {sugarlens}, Weddingbee, and CNN. Now instead of going to 3 different places, I can just come to my Google Reader and get all the latest news at one spot. I can't believe I am just discovering this. What hole have I been hiding under?

Google Reader

So anyway, {sugarlens} has always had this RSS feed functionality. However, today, Luke added the RSS feed icon to the blog to make it even easier for people to subscribe to {sugarlens}. Now all you have to do is click on the icon to start the process. It's so cool.

I know I know, it's not like {sugarlens} is a major news site that people will be subscribing to left and right. But you just wait, that day will come. :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

fare well little cards

Part I and II

And they are off! I mailed our Lunar New Year cards out this morning on the way to work. I am very happy with the overall result. I even used the new stamps from USPS just for the occasion. I hope the recipients will like them as much as I do!

As much as I am proud of my work, there is room for improvement. Namely, 2 things:

1) Due to my laziness, I used return address labels with only Luke's name. I would have liked to have both of our names on it to show that it is coming from the both of us (granted, we signed the cards with both of our names). However, I didn't want to deal with printing the envelops or handwriting our address 30 times. Next time though, I am going to buy these to fix the problem.

2) Instead of using black/blue pens to write the addresses on the envelops, I am going to invest in some metallic pens next time. Not only it will give me a piece of mind (will the postmen be able to read the black writing on the red envelop?), it will look a lot nicer too.

I kept one card for memento. I am thinking of buying a frame such as this one from Crate and Barrel to frame my work of art. :) I will do the same every year and eventually have a collection of my DIY cards framed up on the wall.

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed to make sure that the cards don't get lost while on delivery. I had so much fun with this project. Can't wait to do it again next year!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, January 28, 2008

1 Fish 2 Fish Up Up Up!

After our adventure at Turtle Bay, I was looking forward to snorkeling again at the famous Hanauma Bay. Unfortunately, we picked the wrong day to go snorkeling. I will get to that later.

Following the same protocol, we took Bus #22, the Beach Bus, to Hanauma Bay. The ride wasn't bad because we had learned about the bus schedule the previous day. So instead of waiting aimlessly for a bus to come, we knew when to expect a bus. A positive note about our hotel location is that it is the first pick-up stop, so we were always guaranteed a seat (yeah, we are not giving up our seats for any kiddies or preggy ladies). 50 minutes later, we reached our destination spot.

After paying an entrance fee of $5 per person (Turtle Bay was free, by the way), we entered the Education Center and exhibit area. Before visitors can go down to the beach area, we all have to watch a 5-minute presentation on the history of the Bay, the protection of coral reefs, and other good stuff. While waiting for the presentation, we had time to walk around the top to take a few pictures. Pretty, don't you agree?

Here we are in the Education Center and exhibit area. Note that we were sporting our new matching shorts that we had just bought the day before at the International Market Place! We also bought tatamis. It is very popular, you are not a tourist without one.

To get to the beach area, we had to walk down this path, picture below. Walking down is easy, but harder walking up because of the incline. There is actually a shuttle that takes people up and down. It's 50 cents to go down and a buck to come up. I can understand old people taking it, but for anyone else, you are just plain lazy.

We found a spot and laid down our tatamis and towels. I still had my shirt on because it was so windy! It wasn't cold, but just cloudy and windy. Not the greatest day, but at this point, I didn't know the worst was yet to come. I thought the fishes would still be out and about. Boy was I wrong.

Hand in hand, we snorkeled, looking for colorful fishes. What did we see? I say we saw less than 10 fishes during our trip at Hanauma Bay. The waves were too big and the water was too cloudy that day. Tired of seeing muddy water and getting pushed around by the waves, I didn't stay in the water for too long at all. Luke ended up taking off his snorkeling gear and just went out for a swim. On the land wasn't much better either because of the wind. I was a little bit bummed about our trip to Hanauma, but at least I did get to see fishes at Turtle Bay so I didn't mind too much that we didn't get to see anything here.

We walked up the incline and decided to take more pictures of the view. Luke said he likes the following 2 pictures. I do too!

So yeah, our trip to Hanamua wasn't as fun as we had hoped for, but things can't go perfectly all the time. We look forward in coming back again and see more than 10 fishes. :)

A video clip. Listen to the wind and look for the moving palm tree.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Do. Do You?

Part I and II

We lucked out and was married on a perfectly sunny September day. We kept the ceremony very short because 1) we didn't have enough seats for all the guests, 2) September weather can still be rather warm, and 3) we just didn't want a long ceremony. We also kept the day on schedule by starting the ceremony at a mere 7-minute later than what was stated on our invitation!

Having a violinist really added a special romantic touch, especially for an outdoor garden ceremony. For the price, it was well worth it! Heather even got some artistic shots of the violinist and again, she totally captured all the special moments of our ceremony.

Taking turns to walk down the aisle. Luke and his parents walked to "From This Moment On" and my parents and I walked to the ever-so-popular, Pachelbel's Canon. I love that piece, ever since I was little. It was really nice to hear the music as I walked closer toward Luke.

We didn't write our own vows. Instead, we took bits and pieces from what we found online and made it our own. This here was my favorite part of the vows.

Blessing of the Apaches

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

A collage of pictures during the ceremony. I especially like the one where you can see the high roof of the gazebo.

I honor you. With this ring, I thee wed.

You may kiss the bride!

Husband and wife at last! :)

Photography by Heather Hopkins, Dolphindance Photography

[+/-] Extra Sugar!