Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 24 Moments of 2013

Most of the time, when it gets to the end of the year, I start to feel like I haven't accomplished anything in 2013. It feels like NOTHING happened when in reality, a lot did. I have to remember that the expectations sometimes I have for myself are ridiculous. Although having high expectations of yourself is not a bad thing, it isn't the greatest for you sometimes either. You can really bring yourself into this states of depression that even you yourself cannot pinpoint the reason. Because sometimes that's just how depression works. I learned, as I was organizing a years worth of photos - moving them from my mobile to my computer, there has been a bunch of noteworthy moments. Moments that reminded me that this happened and it was great, even if it was bad. Here are the top 24 highlights I should always remember that happened in 2013 (chronological).


1. The Mount Baker Trip

A bunch of friends coming together to go on a trip should always be remembered.Snow high as the cars, the drinking and video games, the laughs, the snoring that shook the cabin and the water mishaps.


2. Baking Bread in the Rice Cooker

I was encouraged to watch an anime on baking. In one of the episodes, it teaches you to bake bread in the rice cooker. Me being me, I had to try it out. It worked. I was amazed.



3. Boyfriend's Midnight Birthday Madness

I don't understand how I could forget this happened. Where friends came to the door at midnight to surprise the boyfriend on his birthday, all masked like him and with a cake. Too bad boyfriend didn't know and went arming himself with a bat. No one got hurt, and everyone got cake.



4. Shalini's Music Video

It felt like it was a long time coming, and being a part of making it all happen was watching magic in the making. I can see why people go into the movie making business. Even though it's hard work, the final product will always be satisfying.



5. My Back Breaking

 
I suffered a slipped disc this year around early April. It felt like I was breaking. It was the most pain I've ever been in my life.



6. The Ambulance Ride



Two paramedics come, Jason and Jason, whom one strangely looks like an older version of my friend Jason....During my trip to the hospital, Jason who sat with me in the back took my heart rate again, and tried to start an IV drip line for me but failed three times. So I ended up going into the hospital with bandages on both wrists


7. First Time Admittance To The Hospital


8. The Recovery

 
The next two weeks only having one rest day in between the two, I would go for acupuncture daily. It helped a lot and I experienced how much love my parents had for me. It felt like being driven so close to insanity and almost loving me so much I was about to be smothered to death by LOVE... I would lose the month of April, recovering from this injury and spend the month of May trying to make it back.




9. Hustling To Catch Up

 
I can't really explain how losing a month feels, spending it in bed. the most honest thing I can really say. It's great to spend a day in bed to spend a month is depressing. You start to learn not to take the ability to walk for granted, or even standing up straight, or sitting up for a matter of fact. But being able to get back in your feet and do things is wonderful, but hustling the make up time. The days are long, I spend it making glue, mounting paintings. My little condo has turned into a studio filled with colours and the smell of rice paper lined with silk and when I'm waiting for the glue to dry, I'm graphic designing the print and online material.



10. Spending Time, Building Easels and Frames


It was hard, doing it on my own. Then my friends came around to help out, it became better. Without them I don't know how I would have been able to finish in time. During the building of the easels it felt like a roller coaster. Designing, watching the budget, making sure all materials came in in time, purchasing the right materials for the build, coming up with alternative solutions to save money, to save time. Most of all I had to deal with things I could not control. The weather, and someone stealing some of the posts of the easels. I think the theft really upset me. I didn't see what anyone could do with routed 2x2x8 posts.

Making the frames was a learning experience. Who learns how to frame artwork just before doing an art show?! Yeah I did. Framing is easy, it's making sure you have all the right measurements, materials, and time. Painting the frames was certainly no easy task.



11. BC Children's Hospital - Telethon - Kids Play Area Volunteer

I don't know how this happened but I just found myself as a volunteer for the BC Children's Hospital during their telethon event. Since I had experience as a face painter, I offered my services for this event and worked the kids play area.



12. The Wedding - Dinner

I didn't get the chance to go to their service during the day as I was working items for the art show. But the dinner was wonderful, and the speeches really left everyone on the verge of tears. Everyone still had a bit of fun. Two beautiful families becoming one.



13. The Artshow

It happened, even with the main staff getting little to no sleep. We dedicated and made this dream a reality. It raised money for great causes. The turn out wasn't bad and everything went well through the night. The art show got coverage by a local Chinese newspaper.



14. Cherry Picking and Winery Trip


Cherry picking didn't last very long. Since the cherries were - unripe or overripe. So we ended up buying most of our cherries. We visited some wineries in the Okanagan, beautiful and delicious. Spending time with friends is always great.



15. Visiting the BCSPCA

 

I visited the BCSPCA the day before my Hawaii trip to drop off the donation collected from the art show.
I got to walk around and look at the animals. It was my first time being there. I wish I could have taken some lovelies home with me.



16. The Trip To Hawaii


A fun and relaxing trip of eating and drinking, enjoying fireworks, the beaches and sitting on trolley tours.



17. Knight Slaying of Pedo Bear Engagement

An epic engagement. No it wasn't mine. It was of two fantastical friends. Who are crazy awesome and had this crazy awesome engagement. Hats go off to Angus for pulling this off.



18. The Halloween - SloMo Video Shoot


Four alumni + a special helper secretly filmed and musically scored a slow-motion booth for charity at our old high school. Even the students had no idea what was happening. Hours and hours of unsolicited volunteer time later...here we have it. Desi Method Photography by Vikaash Prasad - [thinkvik] 





19. Birth of Umber, Lunch with an Old Friend


I realized being with fantastical old friends - is that we don't really change that much to one another. We still love each other the same no matter how much time passes between us. Our lives has changed, have families, live in different cities. Friendship love is a language of it's own. I didn't take any pics of my friends baby cause I keep forgetting to take pics but she's super cute.



20. Launched GFBFDOG


This project - mainly for the new year was created for catching the memories and events that happen within our lives with one another ( the boyfriend, dog and I). It was talked about for a while, and sketches have been in the works the last few months. In the last few weeks of Dec. GFBFDOG was launched and now shares its moments with the world.



21. Christmas Caroling on Robson Street

I'm the one wearing really blue jeans and a yeti hat. A friend started a society called HUM - which helps raises money for charities through music. So he gathered a group of people together and went caroling down Robson street to raise money for the Vancouver food bank. In two hours we raised 445$.



22. Learned to play the Ukulele

I purposely created this thumbnail to be NOTHING about what's going to happen in the video because well, I'm not a pro Ukulele player or singer. This is just a gift to someone far away.



23. Kept Christmas Spending Under 150$

 
This Christmas was certainly a budgeted one. It's not about getting but giving.



24. Koji's New Tricks

Roll-over, Kiss-Kiss, Right paw / left paw - BOTH PAWS!, catch the treat that's resting on your nose, and Reverse!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My 150$ Christmas Budget

This year I've definitely been living on a budget. So this Christmas I set one. My initial gifts were supposed to all equal to 100$ but that wasn't going to happen. However I was able to keep it all under 150$. How did I do this? Most of everything I gifted was homemade.

FOR THE SISTER -
1) Home made Vinyasa Scarf - 15$ for materials and buttons.

FOR THE NIECE and NEPHEW -
1) Coloring Book - 2$ @ Michael's
2) Hello Kitty Sticker Book - 5$ @ Michael's

FOR SISTER'S WHOLE FAMILY -
1) DIY paper toy packages. Paper & Ink - Free. Clear coat paint - 5$@ Canadian Tire

I spent a lot of time altering the original designs (enlarging them), printing them out, and cutting them out, spraying them with clear coat and scoring the fold lines. This ensures a longer lasting and better looking paper toys.

2) Box of Disney puzzles - 8 pack for girls & boys -(not photoed) - 13$ @ Target.



THE BOYFRIEND -
1) Home made - Paw Print Ornament of his dog's paw - FREE (made from ingredients in kitchen)
2) Nerf guns & extra darts - 25$ (was on sale buy 1 get 1 half off the toy guns) @ Target



FOR MAMA JANG -
1) Koji Pictures in Picture Frame: 18 Pictures - 1.80$ @Costco
She's been asking for pictures of the dog and thought this would be a great gift. This was more of a split gift from me and my boyfriend. (Frame was not purchased by me)


THE DOG -
1) Home made - Dog Treats - Ingredients cost about 10$
(which makes a lot of cookies with left over ingredients)



FRIENDS and FAMILY
1) A lot of people got home baked cookies this year. Cost of ingredients: 50$ for 40 packages.
With lots of variety, I put out a posting and asked a few people what their favorite cookies were, picked the top 6 and baked away. Everyone got a variety of gingerbread, gingersnaps, shortbread, snickerdoodles, biscotti, butter cookies and peanut butter cookies.


2) The Serenade - FREE
Since my big brother is overseas and expecting a baby soon. I wanted to do something special for them.
I received a ukulele around the time of my birthday and had been learning to play it ever since and I thought a video of me playing and singing a song would be an awesome gift. It can be played for my soon to arrive niece, who can then see me and hear me.

Although this year I may have overdone it with the baking, 
I just want people to know how wonderful life can taste, smell, sound, look, and feel. 
It only takes a moment to create a memory - Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hawaii Trip 2013

WARNING this is a SUPER LONG BLOG POST

Day 1 - The Travel From Day to Night

Leaving Vancouver Arriving To Hawaii
Goodbye Vancouver, it looks as though we're leaving and flying into space... then a whole lot of hours later... Hello Hawaii. We went from day to day, even being on a plane for a while it took us some time to adjust to the new hours. We got onto our shuttle to our Hotel, I thought the shuttle was fantastic to have wi-fi! whoa! so impressed! Boyfriend told me not to fall asleep until later tonight so it would be easier for us to adjust to the time change.
Royal Garden Hotel Royal Garden Hotel 
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We got to our Hotel - The Royal Garden Hotel - the staff there was really friendly. When we got there the customer service desk greeted us, lei-ed us and gave us a coupon book, maps and told us great places to eat. The Hotel looked pretty grand in the lobby. With sky painted ceilings, angels, clouds and birds. Modern Regal. If that's possible. Is my best way of describing the lobby.
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Our Room - Had just about everything we needed. A microwave, a mini fridge, a kitchenette, a small dining table, a coffee maker and more. Outside was dark, so the view wasn't much to see until the morning. We get to our room, rest for a bit, and check out what could be close by for us to go eat. Wi-Fi comes with our room, so all the more to enjoy our stay. We are going to be here a while. We plan where we're going to go for dinner.
Giovanni Pastrami
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We headed to a restaurant ~ Giovanni Pastrami ~ that seemed to be busy. When you first see a restaurant that has a line up you think - they must be good! - right? - It was alright. I give it a 3/5 - the food wasn't awesome, and the service was slow. We were over looked many times before being served ( which is not great considering we waited a bit before being seated ) and B-'s Loco-moco wasn't that great, and he was really excited to eat it, after ordering it.
Giovanni Pastrami Giovanni PastramiI'm on vacation, obviously I'm going to order a drink! It was ... ok. I ordered a sandwich ( I can't remember which double-decker sandwich) which was pretty good, I enjoyed most of it, but it was pretty large to finish. After Dinner we walk around a bit and head back to the hotel to watch some TV and finally sleep.



Day 2 - Breakfast at Lulu's, To the Zoo, Then Fireworks

Morning View
We Wake up to a beautiful view.
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If I look out from the balcony and turn to the left, there is the canal, and to the right..
the beach is over there.. do you see it in the distance?
 
International Village The Original Hotel
We decided to walk from our hotel to the ZOO! It's exploration time! I love exploration time by foot! Totally the best way to learn your way around. Anyways.. we walk by International Market Place. It's sad to find out they are knocking it down to build a big mall here. Just higher prices for future vacationers. Along our walk we walk right by the hotel that B-'s mom and him stayed at more than 20 years ago during his first visit Hawaii when he was five! Here is the view from Lulu's. :)
Breakfast at Lulu's
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I tried to make some moving pictures but it's hard to hold the camera still sometimes... 
mini tripod would have helped here. 

Breakfast at Lulu's Breakfast at Lulu's
B- loved his breakfast. It was an omelette but Me ~ I would have loved it if they didn't pour the syrup on top before serving it to me. It made it WAY too sweet for me. So if you eat here and get a delicious looking Banana Mac Nut waffle like mine.. ask them to only have the syrup on the side.. NOT poured on top.
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We make it to the zoo! we take a picture of the large tree that 20 years ago had some kind of balls hanging from them, but they don't have them anymore. Honolulu Zoo was probably the best zoo I got to experience. You'll see why in some of our photos. :) The only thing I didn't like was things that fell on me. There are nuts that fall off the trees so be careful when you walk about the zoo enjoying its sites.
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The Flamingos were our first stop
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the washroom mural was gorgeous!Hawaii Trip 2013
and there are the monkeys jumping around
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It was a rare treat to see the wild dog - he doesn't come out often to be spotted.
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Hi Orangutan , Hello Baboon!
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The chimpanzees really gave us a show, many of them were playing tag with one another.Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013
and then there were the fox, lions and tigers.
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I tried my best to get the rhinos attention.. this was the best I could do.  :D
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I think we looped the Zoo twice to make sure we didn't miss any of the animals. If you want to see these images bigger, you can check them out here
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After to Zoo we traveled back to our Hotel to rest a bit out away from the sun before deciding to head back hour for dinner at PF Changs.  We ordered.

Chang's Lettuce Wraps. Coconut Curry Vegetables. Crispy Honey Chicken. - I can't remember the drink I ordered but it was alright. The waitress said it was one of favorites (I think she was lying) I remembered trying not to be rude about the drink.

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I didn't take any photos of the lettuce wrap cause we were so hungry we devoured it! it was so good!
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So I went to buy a hat, but it felt like it was of no use especially when it's so windy in Hawaii, it kept blowing off, I was wondering if I should have fastened a tie string or something so it would stay on my head. It's very sunny, a hat is a good thing to have. After dinner we walked around exploring, I think we headed back to the Hotel to rest and to find out when the fireworks were happening. It would be the only fireworks for us to see this whole trip, so we didn't want to miss it. Held by the Hilton by the beach, every Friday. As we headed to the beach there was a torch by a restaurant that was interesting as it's flames kept swirling upwards. I've never seen anything like it, so I had to take a video and turn it into a gif. The fireworks were short, but entertaining. Its a good end to an eventful first full day in Hawaii. 


Day 3 - Ride the Trolley, Made in Hawaii festival, Mall hopping, Visit the Giant Mall to buy some Curry!

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It's a bright and early morning. We make our way to a special event that happens in Hawaii.Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013
The Made in Hawaii Festival.
We were told we're very lucky to be in town for this event where the vendors come from all over the islands, the come together once a year in one location to show off their goods.
I have no idea why I didn't take a lot of photos at the festival.
I think my camera battery was very limited.Hawaii Trip 2013
The event was very good. I got to get delicious popcorn and free food :D.
I got some souvenirs and items to remember Hawaii. That were made in Hawaii!
After the event we hopped onto the Trolley again to tour some more of the City.
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What is this building, it's so interesting looking.
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Apparently Honolulu hired artists to come and paint the town, they have some gorgeous street art here.Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013
We hop off the trolley to go to a strip mall, I saw the Hello kitty store and wanted to go in, but if I did I would buy something, so I didn't enter.Hawaii Trip 2013
We ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Don't turn around bf, there's a creepy painting there.Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013 Hawaii Trip 2013
I don't know why all my drinks are pink so far on this trip. Hahahhahaha
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This mall is super huge. It has koi fish.
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I didn't try a mini-waffle, as much as I wanted to, B- said .. NO. and then I let him go get some curry at the Curry house. I scored some cool gifts - the hat for my nephew and pocky for jenn jenn.
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I don't remember what really important this building is, I think it's city hall.Hawaii Trip 2013


Day 4 - To the Aquarium, Ride the Trolley, Explore Aloha Tower, Exploring Chinatown, Dinner at Keo's

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The Aquarium is really small. We went because we had free passes. I thought I would be able to find a cute turtle doll here for my niece but didn't. I was the only person to ask questions at the sealion feeding. Made me wonder if people are curious anymore of animals. We head out on our way much more to see as we are riding the Green line today.
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These Whale buses are so CUTE! I wish we had stuff like this in Vancouver.
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We stop at Kahala Mall Center - There is a head statue here of some guy that was in Hawaii Five-O the original series. I think Mama J- would know who he is. I wanted Giant Sushi pillow so bad... but where would I put it?! - Pass. This mall is equivalent to Vancouver's Brentwood mall.
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Enjoying some views before we head back to the trolley depot.
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I wish I took more pictures but there's something up with the extra battery I was given for the camera I was using. This is what I get for selling my camera to fund the art show.
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We come across Aloha Towers and explore this area a bit. We're told that the location will soon be turned into a University campus. What an awesome campus that's going to be! Wow! Before we left and as we were waiting at the trolley stop, B- asks me for some crackers ( I got some from the Made in Hawaii festival ) . I had packed some in my bag for our adventures today, I gave him some crackers to find out he wanted some to feed the bird that had hopped beside him.
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We started to have dinner pretty late, as B- was becoming sick and wanted to sleep when we got back to the hotel. I watched monsters inc. and woke him up around 8pm. The food was fantastic to me, but he couldn't taste much of anything. :(
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Day 5 - All you can eat lunch, Beach Lounging, Then the Magic Show!


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Day 6 - Hiking Diamond Head, Surf n Turf Tacos, Visiting Honolulu Art Museum, Dinner at Marukame

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Still not feeling very well, and cold-fx not working as well anymore, we travel to Chinatown for a specific item that I know will aid in his recovery. Whenever I come down with the flu / cold I usually take it to get better. We found it in Chinatown as I knew we would :D 
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We went to Marukame for noodles...YUM!, before heading back to the hotel to rest.
B- Calls sealife park to ask them what time they open, and wondered if it would be far for us to rent scooters and ride there. And asked about scooter parking. The sealife park worker advises B- that it's very dangerous to scooter to Sealife park and has never heard of anyone doing that before coming from the city. Boyfriend hangs up the phone and looks at me, saying he could have killed us.

Day 7 - Trolley Tour, Visiting Sea Life Park and Paradise Cove Luau 

Yay! Boyfriend is feeling much better this morning. 
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Look  chicken! B- was so happy to see a chicken.
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Thanks stranger for walking into my shot!
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Lets eat before we enter Sealife Park.
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Pineapple dole swirl.
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I looked into this enclosure and had no idea what i was supposed to be looking for. Apparently lots of wild local sea birds just come here to find shade and rest.
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The dolphin show was AMAZING! very impressed with the trainers.
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We're on the blue line heading back to our hotel to rest before the luau tonight.
Look doggies at the back of a pickup truck.
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The food was alright, the native dish - Poi - tastes a lot like yogurt.
The Kalua pork however was very much on the salty side. Too salty for me.
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*leaving the luau pic of the dancers*
BF: does that guy have an eight pack?! Is that possible?!
Me: more than one of them does. And yes it is possible.Hawaii Trip 2013
My favorite picture of our trip. I love the birds ... tehehe.
However because of -  me having to go bathroom break, and taking this photo, B- had to miss the spear throwing portion of the festivities. :( I wished there was more time for the events. They felt very rushed. I felt like there was not a lot to take in everything and not much time for people to stop and go to the bathroom until it was time to eat. 

Day 8 - Rest Day, Lets Go Swimming In The Ocean

*getting out of bed*
Me: *sniffles* I think I got sniffles from the bus last night. But The dryness from the back of nasal cavity has moved to the back of my throat.
BF: I think I gave you what I have. So don't say I don't ever give you anything (:D)
Me: what! look at your face! you're smiling so big right now! you're lucky I love you!
BF: (:D)
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On this day, we probably did more than just swimming in the ocean.
I'm pretty sure we swam in the morning in the pool and sauna-ed at the hotel and then decided to later on in the day to swim in the ocean.


Day 9 - Breakfast at Tilia, It's Outlet Shopping Day, Must Try Leonard's Bakery - Malasadas, Kunio Sushi is Terrible!

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I actually enjoyed eating here, it's clean and tidy. The washroom has a weird access but the food was great. My fresh juice was healthy tasting.. if that makes any sense.
Good, but a bit on the pricey side for half a waffle. If you plan to go somewhere cheaper, I-hop would be for you, but it's always filled when we pass by it.
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One thing I had to try was Leonard's Malasadas - I looked online of stuff to try and this was always on it's list. I want to learn how to make them so I can bring it here.
They are so good. Boyfriend approved.
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We thought OK, maybe for an island the seafood wouldn't be so bad. It's pretty bad here.
Do not recommend Kunio, when you're at the large Outlet mall.
Perhaps it's from the spoils of living in a city with some of the best food in the world.

Day 10 - My First Farmers Market! Coconut Pie from McDonalds, Puka Dog ~ I found you, Cooking with the coffee pot

Hawaii Trip 2013One of the trolley lines stops right at the Farmers Market. You have to get up early to catch this one cause there are only certain times trolley passes here for the hours of the market so be sure to plan this one. Lots of stuff. Boyfriend bought some yams.
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We took a selfie at the market. As we got back into town, we stopped by McDonald's to try this one special treat. You know how we have Apple pie in Vancouver, well Hawaii has Coconut pies in theirs. I loved it!   We passed by the noodle place - Murakame to find this long line up! It's no surprise pick your times to go there too.
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My friend DJ said to try a Puka Dog! Basically the bun is not a slip its wrapped around the dog. There are different buns you can pick from, I choose: polish hot dog, mango relish with lilikoi mustard on a taro bun. I liked it with its very unique tasting relish sauce.
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We decided to cook the yams, in a coffee pot and had some cheese cake we also bought from the farm market. :D It was really good!

Day 11 - Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, Lets go back to PF Changs, Some more Shopping - Music Box Hunting.

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Hawaii Trip 2013
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It's really easy to lose your buddy while snorkeling. Although the water is blue and seems clear, when you submerge you're probably only able to see 2-3 feet around you. I suggest one of those coil rubber / plastic key chain things linked up and attached to one another allowing you to swim yet not drift too far from one another. Plus, it's kinda crowded. Be sure not to touch the coral, it can really cut you. Although neither of us got cut, there are friends that have.
Hawaii Trip 2013
Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013
Happy Hour at PF Chang's! - This is probably the best time to go here to eat your fill.
It's cheap and the food is actually pretty good.
I enjoyed my pineapple liquor drink much more this time. :D
Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013
We walked around most of the time today, we were on a hunt for a unique souvenir from Hawaii, a music box. We have a coupon for a store and wanted to get a certain music box that played a song that would remind  you of Hawaii, after searching for it at a certain store at various locations we found it!  SO lucky! 

Day 12- Lets ride the trolley and go watch a movie before it's time to go home - Redeye

Hawaii Trip 2013
We packed this morning and checked out of our rooms, left our bags with luggage holding and had to kill some time before our flight. We rode a the red - line trolley again, and got off at the movie theaters. I remember eating somewhere I don't remember, but boyfriend took pictures on his phone. We watched despicable me 2 here. Before watching the movie we played some toy vending game and boyfriend won a star-trek toy for 2 dollars. Lucky! It was so empty in the movie theater, there was about 8-9 people in one large theater for this movie.

Hawaii Trip 2013
It's time to go, we returned to our hotel, and waited in the lobby for our shuttle to pick us up. Our hotel was very accommodating allowing us to lounge in the lounge before leaving. I <3 div="" loved="" them.="">

Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013

Day 13- Going Home.

We are so tired by this point. At one point I was sleeping on the ground by the windows.
Boyfriend just had to take a picture of me sleeping and post it on facebook without me knowing, kinda embarrassing. These photos are taken while we were waiting to board our next flight home, during our transfer at Denver international airport. We had some time to kill. We walked around the airport looking for washrooms, food (got food), maybe souvenir ( but didn't get anything ). We just want to go home.
Hawaii Trip 2013Hawaii Trip 2013
Hawaii Trip 2013
It's been 11 Days! he's (the dog) so HAPPY to see HIM! 

Achieved Life Goal: #46. Snorkeling