Fancy Photos From the Road – Long Island, NY

As promised, here are some of the “good” photos I took while we were on Long Island last week visting Duggs’ side of the family and a lot of our friends there.  In my earlier post, I used the snap shots from my iPhone (which aren’t so shabby), but now here are some better pics that we took with our real camera.

And even though we have a fair amount of pics, I wish I had taken more!  I always do.  It seems so annoying at the time to have out the camera and to nag everyone to pose and take pics.  But then after the fact, when you have nice photos, you’re always so glad you did it.  So my new thing is not being afraid to be the annoying one – because the benefit in the end is so worth it.

Okay.  Enough rambling, here’s from the wonderful time we had on Long Island with family, friends, loved ones near and dear:

Like I said, I wish I’d taken more photos.  These hardly paint the picture of the time we had there – no image can really encapsulate how nice it is to see family when it’s been so long since you were all last together.  But some are better than none, so I appreciate y’all checkin’ out the ones we did manage to take.

And next time someone’s pestering you to smile, think of the big picture – maybe the person with the camera writes a blog and they’re trying to fully illustrate a week-long road trip with oodles of pics.  Maybe!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

HNL to JFK, Road Trip, Reunions, and So On…

We don’t live in Hawaii anymore.  It’s so crazy to realize that, but in another way – it feels like it’s been forever since I was in Hawaii.  I know it’s hardly been a week since we left, but the sounds of luau music and the taste of pineapple with li hing feel like super distant memories.  It’s weird how time can mess with you like that!

We finally left Hawaii on the evening of May 1st.  Getting all of our luggage, the pooch and ourselves to the airport was comedic at best.

the shuttle from the hotel to the airport. yeah, we literally filled the whole thing

arriving at the honolulu airport – so much stuff, yikes!

It took so long to do all the checking in and inspections that we were literally the last ones to run aboard the plane just moments before take-off.  American Airlines was actually great, they only charged us $175 for JJ – and if you’ve been following all of the controversy and price changes for animals accompaniment fare, you know this is a screaming good deal!

checking the pooch into american airlines

I was so sad to say bye to JJ.  I was so worried about my pooch being on the plane, all by himself.  He’s meek and scared of everything as it is.  I knew the poor little guy was just going to be terrified the whole time.  I slept with a blanket for a week out, so it would really smell like me.  We had his favorite pals, Hippo and Bonky in there with him, along with a new doggie bed a couple pillows he likes.

saying good bye to the pooch before we boarded the plane in hawaii

Then it was go time!

self-port in the plane lavatory, hahah. i’m shameless.

duggs and me, on the plane – good bye hawaii and hello new adventure!

We made a quick stop in LAX (and hey! Cali friends, don’t worry, we hardly had more than a few minutes to sit at the gate and then we were off again – if I ever have enough time to hang out during a layover I make sure to let folks know, and this was NOT one of those time).  Then on to JFK in New York City it was!  Jayjers seems to have done well enough, because when we picked him up in the NY airport he was his happy, excited, adorable self!

i look so tired after flying all night – but i’m super happy to be reunited with my sweet boy!

rounding up all of our crap in the jfk baggage claim

We landed in the mid-afternoon of May 2nd.  Between the flight lengths and the time change it really takes about a full day to go from Hawaii to the East Coast.  Then the nest adventure was rounding up the luggage (all zillion pieces of it… seven checked, 3 carry ons and a pooch, to be exact) and get the rental car checked out and on the road.

The first stop was Miss Alices, or Mom’s – my Mother-in-Law’s place in Long Beach, Long Island.

miss alice, outside of her home in long beach, long island, ny.

We stayed at Miss Alice’s house for three nights!  We were able to catch up with her, Matthew got to see BOTH of his brothers and we just all had an awesome time.  We got to relax, shoot the breeze, and it was just lovely all around.  MIss Alice treated us to some amazing home-cooked meals and we just lived it up, relaxing and taking it all in!

stephen, matthew’s brother holds jj

Matthew and I did some shopping (we made some awesome use out of some leftover gift cards from Christmas).

duggs driving me to the mall for some shopping!

yo, i’m at the mall. so what about it?

oh hay duggs, how does it feel to be back home?

It’s been a little colder here than we expected – but the change of pace has felt AMAZING. I love it!  We packed for a slightly warmer season, so while at the mall we did grab a couple more sweaters.  And Miss Alice gifted me some layering stuff and sweaters too.  Surprisingly, I’ve done well with the climate change and haven’t felt “cold” at all.  I’ve just really liked it!   One thing I have had to get used to – having to wear real clothes.  In Hawaii, I dressed sooooo casually, flip flops (slippahs) and sundresses all the time!  Not to mention I work from home, so I hardly get all dolled up.  In the NYC-area, it’s a different story.  You can’t go running errands looking like a slouch.  So I’ve had a fun time wearing “real” clothes.  It feels good!

A few of Matthew’s pals hosted a really sweet gathering for us and we were able to catch up with a lot of friends.  It was so rad!

duggs and me, from the night we hung out with everyone

We had a great night hanging out with everyone.  I was too busy gabbing (go figure!) to take many pics… ugh.  I promise that once we go through the real camera and upload pics, I’ll include whatever ones we have from that night.  It was a blast seeing Christian and Lauren, their little baby Griffin, Lauren’s parents were such a delight!  And then so many friends came over to say hi!  We got to see Brian and Rachel, Nick and Liz, my friend Marissa met up with us too, Christian’s brother Shawn, and then we were there – it was such a cool night!  (I really really hope I didn’t forget anyone).

To everyone who came and hung out – thank you so much!  It was so rad to see everyone.

miss alice, during the road trip out to the east end of the island

the view driving near nanny and grandparent’s house out in amagansett, long island

me and the sweet pooch on the road, loving it!

Before we went to the actual house, we stopped by the beach in Amagansett and I was able to lay eyes on the Atlantic Ocean once again.  After living in and around the Pacific the past couple years, and getting used to its warm waters and bright blue electric colors – it was nice to see my tried and true gray Atlantic.  Something about the murky and cold water just feels comforting to me, out of familiarity, out of the hours and hours I’ve spent in it and on it… as gorgeous as the Pacific is, the Atlantic will always be home to me!

the ocean!

the house in amagansett – it’s a beautiful beach home that duggs and his fam have all gathered at for years.

We spent a night with Matthew’s grandparents, his mom, his brother Johnny and his Uncle Joe all out at the beach house in Amagansett.  Uncle Joe had his lovely doggie Kola with him, and seeing Jay and Kola interact was fun and cute.  The time out at the beach house was very relaxing.  It’s so quiet out there, it was really nice.

I woke up the morning we were to head out that way with a dreadful sore throat.  I was so worried about getting everyone sick, but it’s been way too long since we’ve seen everyone.  So long as they were okay with me and my germs, I was more than happy to suck it up and make the trip anyways!

Here’s where I’m a heel: the vast majority of the picks we took were on the good camera and I haven’t even started to upload and sort through those.  The only ones I have are my random iPhone snap shots.  So I’ll have to go back and post much better pics from this trip when I have some real time to do a nice job.  On my phone, I hardly got any family pics – just some weird snaps here and there.


johnny is the biker of the fam, he looks like jax from sons of anarchy!

duggs and i got to sleep lucy and dezi style in twin beds, hehe! it was so nice and quiet there, we were able to get some great sleep.

check out this old school image of super duper hottie hubby back in the day!

Grandpa cooked us a lovely meal of salmon and rice, Nanny served a light and a delicious   key lime pie.  The whole family was able to catch up, chit chat and relax.  I know Matthew was just so happy to get to see his family – for him it had been about two years since he’d seen anyone!

The single night spent out there came and went too soon, and before I knew it we were on the road again… time to head back to Long Beach and drop off Miss Alice (my mother-in-law) and then pack up and head out to Pottersville.

Next up: a blog about our time at Camp Curtis on Valentine Pond, in Pottersville, NY.   Our road trip will continue and we’ll keep going and visiting more fam and friends.

the road trip route: JFK to long island, going all across the whole island and then back to the city, up toward and past albany and then on to buffalo! pretty sweet way to criss cross the state, huh?

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Aloha to Hawaii, I’ll Miss You So… Saying GoodBye In Photos

Aloha Beautiful Hawaii! 

aloha rainbow state!

good ole wackiness from my first ever trip to hawaii, back in 2009

Saying goodbye to paradise was harder than I thought it was going to be.  This next step of life is so exciting and wonderful, and trust me: I’m blessed, happy to be where I am physically, emotionally, and everything – this point in life is good.

honeymoon at turtle bay, an amazing time

Our life in Hawaii was extreme, we saw great times and faced challenges.  We reunited there after deployments, but it’s also the place from which we had to say good bye.  We spent sun kissed afternoons out on the water, luxurious days at Turtle Bay, fun evenings out and about… it’s where we said “I do,” and it’s where we found the apple of our eye – our sweet pooch JJ Duggan!

our wedding day

exchanging vows on kailua beach, we did our wedding our way and it was so perfect for us

me and the sweet lil’ pooch, oh i’m so glad we found him in hawaii

It’s also where I’ve battled some health issues, it’s where we suffered a great loss when we experienced our miscarriage, coping through a lonely and hard deployment that was tossed at us without much warning.  But through it all, we came out on top, our marriage was bonded tighter and stronger – so we’ll take with us the happy sunny sweet tropical memories and get ready for a clean slate as we wipe away and move past some of life’s tougher trials.

saying goodbye before a deployment

saying hello when he comes back home again! ahhh, the reunion kiss is always the best.

I’m excited to be in New York and starting this next phase of our lives.  We’re literally writing the first page of a new chapter.  Matthew is out of the Marine Corps and he’s now a civilian, we’ve left Hawaii and moved to New York.  We’re setting out on our own, together.  Duggs was already established in the USMC and living in Hawaii when I came out and joined him – this is a step we’re taking together, going through it all hand in hand.

So yes, I’m stoked to be here in New York…

But I’m going to genuinely miss Hawaii.  I just wanted to take a little post to reflect on the gorgeous aina paradise and really say Aloha.

aloha to paradise, i’ll miss the warm pacific oh so much

we had so much fun boating and out in the hawaiian sun – too much fun to be had every hawaiian day

Hawaii is the kind of place where everywhere you go, there’s an epic view and a breath-taking scene to just suck in and fill yourself with.  The lush mountains, rainbows, flowers, the amazing bright blue oceans and the warm buttery sun bathing all of us.  Hawaii really is this vibrant, happy, relaxed paradise and I am so incredibly blessed to have lived there and spent the time there I was able to.

horseback riding on the north shore, romantic and something i’ll never forget. a truly one of a kind experience.

this island is incredible, i could take a million pics and still wish i had more

When family and old friends came out to visit, we were able to have an awesome time with them in Hawaii – showing off our island home.  I made some amazing friends and connections in Hawaii, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay refreshed and renewed my faith and my love of Christ.

sky diving day in the fall of 2010 – duggs, me, anna (my sister), and brian (duggs’ all time bff)

hope chapel women’s retreat 2011 – arise and shine!

L.O.V.E. HCKB Women’s Retreat 2012

me and ashtan and her navy day ball!

haunted lagoon 2011 at the polynesian cultural center, with ashtan + me

girl’s hiking morning at makapuu lighthouse, while all of our hubbies were deployed we made the best of it!

hope chapel k-bay is where i so found my heart for God – this past christmas was so awesome, here i am in between mel and tami!

The military experience is one that we’ll always remember.  Me as a spouse and Duggs as a dutiful member of the United States Marine Corps.  His service is the whole reason we were ever in Hawaii.  Even though the USMC liked to throw wrenches in our plans all the time, I have the utmost respect for the branch and the military in general. I’m grateful for the hard and brave work those dedicated men and women do, and I’m so proud to be married to a man as nobel as a Marine.

our first usmc ball together, in 2010

I tried to pick a couple photos to sum up my amazing Hawaiian experience, the wonderful times I’ve spent in paradise.  And yeah, it was impossible.  So thus… here’s a crazy montage of pics as a way for me to say Aloha!

I’ll miss Hawaii so very much.  I hope that we’ll be able to visit again one day, and hopefully it won’t be too far in the future that we get to go back.  Until then, I’ll take my mainland life one day at a time and find new beautiful sights to oooh and aaah over, I’ll discover new favorite places and I’m sure Duggs and I will forge tons of new memories and create lots of new adventures, all with stories to tell.  But as we do, I take some little pieces of Hawaii with me always – the sea turtle tattoo I got on my first trip to the island, the wedding ring on my hand that will always make me think of Kailua’s soft sandy beach, and the thousands of memories forever etched into my heart.

Aloha Hawaii – I’ll love you always! 

pretty islands (photo credit here)

And to my readers, I thank you (as always) for reading! xoxo, hhr

Whew. What An Amazing Weekend – Women Of Hope Retreat 2012

I spent this past weekend on the North Shore with 140 of God’s LOVEliest women at my church’s 2012 women’s retreat!

the women of hope

I’m fired up, filled to overflowing, loved, happy, encouraged, humbled, grateful, and … exhausted!  Hence, this post isn’t the actual rundown post.  No, this weekend was so full of post-able pieces of wisdom, insights, joy, fun, photos, and good ideas it’s going to take me a hot minute to compile it all together.  I think I’ll actually make a few posts.

I was so honored to be on the ministry team, working at the event.  I was in charge of the tie dye event and I came up with/led some ice breakers.  I want to post about the group bonding games we did in hopes that others could take the ideas and use them for their own events (Annmarie and I co-led the ice breakers and we are oh so clever, we invented our own games for the ladies to play!!).

The ministry was amazing.  We had devotionals, testimonies, teachings, praise and worship, prayer, prayer and more prayer.  Eight women were baptized in the ocean! EIGHT! Countless women had their faith renewed, re-ignited; sins were purged, the enemy was attacked, others were forgiven.

ocean baptism - amen!

The theme of retreat was LOVE.  We are Lovely, Overcoming, Victorious, and Eternal.

I learned so much, I just feel so pumped up.  I’ve been falling off in my obedience and commitment to God, and this weekend really gave me a chance to dig in and reconnect.  I was able to lay a lot of my own junk down and serve my God, happily.

So, there is MUCH to share, much to say and much to show.  Just give me a few days to collect my thoughts (and notes – I used like seven different notebooks, so everything is all scattered and out of order)… and a series of posts will ensue!

camp mokule'ia is amazing.

If you have any requests of stuff you’d like me to talk about, lemme know.

Oh, and the location!  The location was epic.  Camp Mokule’ia is peaceful and amazing.  The new direction of the facility is to live and run the operations of the camp in a way that is most kind to the land it’s on.  Sustainable living is totally promoted with a new gray water system, aquaponics, composting, gardening, and beefed up recycling.  A hippie like me couldn’t be more excited, especially because Camp management bases all of their green-inspired efforts in Scripture!  I’ll be interviewing the owner of the Camp and giving a full explanation of all their new eco-friendly installations, what the impact has been like, the theological inspiration for the efforts, and how camped have been responding.  So rad, right!?!?

I’m excited to get cracking.  Love to all of my sisters – thank you for a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

Ringing in 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!

i found this random image, but it could be hawaii!

After the whirlwind and chaos of Christmas, the Duggs and I had a totally chill and awesome New Year’s weekend.  He surprised me with plans and a dinner rez, and it was just an awesome, quiet, cozy way for us to re-set, refresh and get ready to face a brand new year.

First, we went boating!  On Friday of the long weekend, we took out a Boston Whaler and went boating out on K-bay.

leaving the wake behind us like it's 2011. (is that cheesy enough?)

It was so sunny when we first went out, a totally gorgeous day.


i heart k-bay, and the 360 pretty views

Being out in the sun, swimming, playing with the pooch (because it was low tide and he could gallop/prance around like an antelope) – it was all so calming.  I’m so ocean-oriented, that just being out on the water seems to always cure what ails me.

It was just the antithesis of Christmas-craziness, and it felt so good.

When we got home, a bouquet of flowers was waiting for me! Thank you, Duggs, you’re such a thoughtful husband.

special delivery

The next night, New Year’s Eve, we went out to Roy’s in Waikiki.  They had a set menu, with special fare just for New Years and it was SO. GOOD.  Just amazing.  We ate crab, lobster, freshly baked lavosh, I had butterfish and mahi for my entre, Duggs had lamb, and for dessert they had fresh strawberry malasadas, strawberry mochi balls with sweet basil ice cream in the middle, and ginger soda with champagne sorbet floats.  I mean, it was so good. I love food.

Oh.  AND they had funny hats and tiaras for everyone to wear.  It was so cute! We had such a nice time on our dinner date, talking about our favorite 2011 moments.

After dinner, we headed over to The Tanner’s house, where some people were celebrating.  We literally walked in the door at 11:58, and just made the countdown!  I shared a happy New Year’s smooch with Duggs, and we had a toast with a ton of pals!

It was an awesome weekend.  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!


as always, thanks for reading! oxox, hhr

sunrise hike: makapu’u point lighthouse

A week ago on April 30th, a group of gal pals gave me insane pleasure by accompanying me on greeting the sun at the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse.   On the east side of O’ahu, this hike juts out into the Pacific Ocean and gives an incredible panoramic view of the sunrise.

The “hike” itself is actually a paved, albeit steep, trail that zig zags up the ridge and peaks at a fenced-off ledge near the lighthouse.  Actually accessing the lighthouse isn’t possible.   Not only is the walk deceptively steep, but there’s no shelter or shade for most of the path.   Carly and I made the mistake of checking it out at noon one day, and we just fried.  So not only does early early morning offer a spectacle of seeing the sun come up over the waves, it’s more comfy too.   During whale season, the Makapu’u Point trail is known for whale watching, so rad!

Here are the pics:

hiking and yoga, pillbox in lanikai

Friday, April 29th, 2011 – Lanikai, O’ahu, Hawai’i – PILLBOX HIKE

warrior pose to the pacific ocean. so awesome.

Climbing and Stretching 

Carlita, Sydney and I had a super fun morning about a week ago.  We hiked the Pillbox trail overlooking Lanikai Beach and when we got to the first “pillbox,” Sydney, a new graduate from Gaia Flow Yoga in Dallas, led us in a nice yoga flow (concrete lookout buildings line this ridge and their small, white, stature have earned the trail the nickname “pillbox”).

Carly and I have been on this awesome tourist mission to stay busy while our husbands are deployed by seeing as much of the island as we can: hiking, snorkeling, swimming and exploring.   Now our friend Sydney (whose fiance is deployed with Carly’s husband) has just moved to the aina and she’s eager to explore and sight-see too.   The three of us make a great team with our easy-going personalties happily meshing.

By the way, if you’ve ever been curious to know more about these gal pals of mine that I make mention of so frequently, check out their blogs!

Back to actually talking about the Pillbox Yoga day:  We didn’t really wake up too early for this one.  We did it a little bit after the sun came up, maybe around eight in the morning or so.  The hike itself is pretty light, but still fun!   We packed our yoga mats in our backpacks so we could use our hands for the steeper parts of the hike (or just to be handsfree, because handsfree is the best).

me, getting out of the car*

sydney and carly at the trailhead

it is a little steep at the get-go

Luckily the trail wasn’t very crowded at all.  We saw a couple random people, but we didn’t have to compete for space or anything.   This hike is pretty popular for the people who live nearby- lots of folks run up the trail or walk their dogs here.  So we totally lucked out in regards to it being sparsely populated that day.  The weather was really mild as well, so being out in the morning sun felt nice, not too hot.  The whole tone was just so right.

the lanikai islands in the early morning light

super close up of me, the girls in the background climbing higher and higher

some cute friends we met on the path. if we weren't doing yoga i would have brought my pooch. aww man!

it's so amazing that we live here. like, woah!

i ❤ hawaii. this place is so beautiful.

i love the yoga mats, tie dye, waterbottles, awesome scenery... this is just soooo "us"

Once we got to the “pillbox,” we literally hoisted ourselves up there and set up shop.  I don’t think I’d ever done outdoor yoga before.  It was really fun, but there are some weird little things you don’t think about it until you go through it.  The surface we were on was flat-ish.  It had lots of slopes and divits, and it was hard to find a nice even spot to put out a mat on.  And because of the nature of yoga, if you aren’t on a flat surface – you gotta be careful not to hurt yourself.  Luckily we’re all super-not-clumsy and we were, of course, extremely safety-oriented and cautious.

Being so exposed and by the ocean, it was windy up there; we were using everything we could to hold down out mats.  And even then they tried to fly away from us a couple times.  Don’t worry- we were super fast and suffered no loss of equipment.

I’m joking about the little bumps that came up… but really, outdoor yoga is awesome.  It’s just so pure and natural and simple.  I want to keep doing it, that’s for sure.

yeah girl, get on up there

oh hay! you too, go up there!

my little backpack is on the top of the world


taking it all in. this world God made for us is just the most perfect artwork.*

me and carly. she's probably sassing me*

don't they look like the two islands?

these two islands!

Sydney is a lovely yoga instructor.  The only real class I’ve been going to this year is the one on base with the same instructor all the time – so it was nice to mix it up and do a flow in a slightly different way (because every instructor is different).

I didn’t get any pics of us actually doing our yoga practice.  I get really focused on those breathes and the poses, and stepping out to snap pics would have killed my zone.  But, afterwards, we did have some fun trying to do different poses and stretching.  And we met a random guy (Jimmy) who was running the trail and he took some pics for us.  So rad!

i don't know the name of the pose sydney's doing, but it looks hard and fancy!

my carly has mad skills

sydney teaching jimmy a new way to stretch

headstand! awesome!

sydney is stronger than she looks, huh? impressive. *

carlita is graceful *

ooh look, i can play too. my wheel. it's getting better, huh? *

being bendy *

yeah, i'm not really close on this one at all. but i'll get there. now i have another goal to work toward! *

messing around and doing the world's worst chair pose. i really am just joking around and being dumb*

We did a couple group shots and Jimmy graciously took them for us.  I like the way they came out.  I know I’m not nearly on the yogi level of Carly or Sydney, but I try and that’s all that matters:

i love everything about this *

being dorky and silly *

After we got down the mountain, we went into Kailua Town and ate at Aloha Salads.  Oh man. I love Aloha Salads.   If/when I leave here, it’s one of the top five eateries I’ll miss the most.  It’s a chain that’s only out here, they serve big salads made of local ingredients.  After being so nice to my body by hiking and stretching, it just feels good to eat something light, simple, and healthy – ya know?

oh yum


It was such an awesome morning, a really great way to just re-set my intentions of being good to myself, appreciating my surrounding, and just having fun while being active.

Oh.  The pics with the asterisks are ones I stole from Sydney’s facebook album from this day.  That’s all.  ALOHA!



I may have skipped over one teensy detail in this retelling… I slipped on the way down.  For your viewing pleasure:

graceful as always

Now it’s really the end.

north shore big wave watching

April 1st – Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Okay, I know I’m waaaaaay behind on posting about this – but it was such a fun day, I figured that to post it late was better than never, right?  Besides… part of the luxury of a personal blog: no deadlines!  I am my own editor.

Carly, my Hawaiian partner-in-crime, and I have been on a mission to see more of the island, be tourists, take it all in, experience as much as we can, and make every day that our husbands are deployed go by faster.   I mean, what better way to pass a deployment than exploring and playing on one of the most beautiful islands on this earth, right?   So here’s a story about another one of our fun Hawaiian days!

Big Wave Watching on the North Shore

The night of March 31st I was about to go to bed, when I saw a friend throw some pics up on FB of the hugest waves ever.  The album was all fun beach pics from the north shore that had been taken that day.  So I text my friend and find out that a late season swell was upon us, and the North Shore was getting unseasonably big waves.  (Typically in Hawaii, winter = big waves, so having 20+ feet waves in later March/early April was just weird and awesome and crazy!).   So I wake up Carly and inform her about these crazy waves coming in, and we decide that we MUST take advantage of this and get on up there.   Every time we tried to catch big set on the North Shore, we’d get there and it would be a bust; we kept going on small, blown out days.  And when I thought about it – I may never get the chance to do this again in my life (oh I hope I do, but another winter in Hawaii isn’t in the Duggan Family game plan as of now).

So, we went set our alarms for early and set off to see some big waves!

To Pipeline we go!

I picked up Carly and we had a nice early morning drive on up.  The drive from the Windward side on up to the Pipeline/Sunset Beach area is soooo beautiful.  I can’t get over how lucky we are to live here!

i'm a good driver, i swears

the view along the H-2

the colors out here are so vivid!

pretty carlita and silly me!

the pine trees on the north side of the aina make it look like the mainland, or at least a totally different place than the rest of oah'u. it really does feel like you're going up north!

After a lot of singing along to Metric (one of me and carly’s faves), and me talking Carly’s face off (I tend to do that) – we got to Pipeline! Can I just say that after hearing about a place like Pipeline my whole when I lived in Florida, it’s so surreal and crazy to get to go there and hang out.   I’m at PIPELINE!!  That’s sooo cool!

Carly, I think she's giving me a sassy face of some sort - but she's about to scope out a place for us to plant ourselves and hang out.

oh hay! i'm at the beach too!

Yeah, we’re real subtle here.  So.  We’ve arrived at Pipeline, there’s a pro-am contest going on for bodyboarding (boogie boarding) and surfing.  So we’re at one of the coolest, most serious surfing beaches in the world, on a day there’s a contest and unseasonably big waves, and we’ve shown up with cheesy grocery store boogie boards, and i’m dressed like a wacky fool (as per usual).  We’re playing it real cool at this point.

Volcom house - isn't this sooo cool? That's the Volcom house!! Ahhh!

close up!

So there was a contest going on.  We got there during the boogie boarding part of it.  It was ladies’ boogie boarding!  It wasn’t really that crazy fun to watch.  But then a few minutes after we had settled in, they announced that the shortboard heats were up next.  Yay!  We were so stoked to get to watch some rad lady surfers!

the announcer booth for the contest

one of the competitors heading out into the water

a surfer all stretching out before her heat

the posters for the day's contests

The contest we stumbled upon was the Science Hawaii Women’s Pipeline Pro.  The winner of the shortboard division, Tatiana Weston-Webb, was amazing.  She was just killin it, and watching her was so fun.  I was mesmerized by watching all of the women surf, it was just so fun and awesome.  It made me want to grab a board and paddle out… Well, it made me want to find a quiet beach with not-scary waves and paddle out there.

Here’s a page I found about the Science contest, and there’s some video. ooh! fancy!

Weird Vog and Rain

So the weather wasn’t exactly perfect, and it kept lightly raining on us!  It’s no big deal… it was just so funny.  It would be blazing hot and sunny, then some rain clouds would roll in right quick, and it would be dark and chilly, and wet.  It was also really voggy that day, and it made everything kind of blah and icky.  No me gusta vog, it’s yuck!  (In case you haven’t been dillegnetly following my blog AND you’re unfamiliar with Hawaii – I’ll fill you in: vog = the weird volcanic fog that rolls into our local atmosphere from the Big Island.  Vog is yucky.  It makes people cough and it makes the sky look poisonous).

carly hiding from the rain!

rain, rain, go away!

yeah, we're THIS cool.

 Okay, okay… The Waves! 

Finally, I’ll show y’all some wave photos.  Mind you, my whole blog is based on low-quality cell phone snap shots – so please don’t expect anything better or fancier than that from me.  Thanks!

The waves were pretty big – bigger than I’ve really seen in person probably.  But, it’s really hard to photograph them from the beach, on a cell phone camera, in a manner that gives them justice.  And a lot of the sets were average, and then every now and then a big ole set would just come in.   So yeah, enjoy:

Shark’s Cove Grill

So we decided to head down the road a lil bit and look for food.  We saw Shark’s Cove Grill, and checked it out on the ole “Urban Spoon.”  (Urban Spoon is an iphone app that uses your GPS to find places to eat near you, and has a community of users that rate and review places to eat.  The reviews tend to be very reliable!).   Urban Spoon told us the Shark’s Cove Grill was affordable and tasty… and that Urban Spoon don’t lie!

We had an insanely good meal there.  We were both talking about how we can’t wait till our husbands get home so we can take them there.  It was awesome food!

shark's cove grill = amazing

lots of chicks hang out there.

aww, meow! kitteh cat!!

Here’s there website, they have some awesome pics on here:

I got some ahi skewers, it was served on rice and black beans.  And what is SO WEIRD is that Carly and I were talking about food on the beach as we were starting to get hungry, and I was whining about not having access to any Chipotle out here (no, there aren’t any Chipotle restaurants in Hawaii, gah!).   So I was saying that I just wanted some protein with some rice and beans and veggies.   When I got my plate at lunch I was just sitting there all mesmerized, thinking ask, and you shall receive! 

oh yum. i can't wait to go back!!

yeah. amazing.

Shark’s Cove

While we were enjoying our lunch, we were staring out Shark’s Cove the entire time.  It’s right across the street.  (Well, I would actually say that the aptly named Shark’s Cove Grill is across the street from Shark’s Cove).

The water was just calling our names.  So we decided to go for a little post-lunch swim.   No, we did not wait thirty minutes.  We’re totally living on the edge and we know it.

carly heading down to the water

Shark’s Cove totally looks beautiful, right?  We aren’t the only ones who think so: the place is cramjammed with tourists, tons of people bedecked in snorkel gear.  There must be some pretty stuff in the water, right?

Carly and I have traveled sans snorkel equipment on this particular day.  Or Aqua Socks.  (do Aqua Socks even exist anymore?).  It turns out, we are poorly prepared for the next segment of our day.  In fact, our time at Shark’s Cove was borderline miserable.

Those rocks are sharp, and never ending!  All we wanted to do was cool off in some refreshing water.  But in order to do this seemingly simple task, we had to pick our way across a bevy of terrifyingly sharp and slippery rocks.  That’s how rocks get you: sharp AND slippery.  So to make our way out to water deep enough to swim in, we undertook this awkard, slow trek of CAREFULLY walking from rock to rock, trying  to find smooth enough footing so not to fall on all the sharp ouchy points, or cut our feet.  It was time consuming and just… not fun.  haha!  oops!

In the next couple days after our time at Shark’s Cove, Carly and I kept finding small cuts on ourselves from those durn rocks.

Anyways, we finally made it out to the pool part of the cove, and we did have a very lovely swim.  It was super refreshing and cool, and it was a very pretty place to swim.

oh hay, step on me!

Dole Whip!

Finally, it was time to head home.  I really had a hankering for shave ice… but we didn’t want to stop in Haleiwa and wait in the huge lines.  Then I remembered, I’ve never had a Dole Whip – and Carly had promised me that we could go to Dole soon.

dole plantation

If I thought Shark’s Cove was chock full of tourists, I hadn’t seen nothin’ yet!  The Dole Plantation had bus and after bus of people getting dumped off there.

Like any super tourist center, they have getting a lot of people in and out in a reasonable time down to a science.  The lines for getting treats move really fast, and we were actually in and out in maybe ten minutes.

so hard to decide!

whatcha gonna get, carly?

a pineapple flavr dole whip

And for all my Family Guy-loving friends… yeah, we kept pronouncing the whip part in a way that would make Stewey proud.  Whhhhip. 

Oh what a fun day I had with my pal Carly seeing more of the island, being tourists, and keeping ourselves busy.   We’re trying to stay busy and make the time our husbands are deployed go by faster – and what a way to do that!!  Everyday my appreciation for how amazing and beautiful this island is, grows.   And my appreciation for my good friend grows as well!

I just feel so super blessed to have the life that I do, and I hope that I’m maxing out on it and making the best of my circumstance.

one year ago…

I said, “I do!”

A reflection on my wedding:

holding up our wedding certificate, proving we were hitched in glorious paradise. what a beautiful day!

April 17, 2010 was such a beautiful, simple, happy, perfect day.  I’m pretty sure it was the best day of my life.  And I don’t mean that figuratively.  It really was the best.

i liked it so i put a ring on it

We got married on Kailua Beach – right on the sand!  It was a simple ceremony performed by a local pastor (not one I know now) and we had a small group of our friends standing around and watching.  All of the “guests,” lived out here in Hawaii; we didn’t invite anyone from the mainland because we were keeping things simple, and the wedding was planned in a very short period.

rev. kermit

We had a tiny wedding, without a reception, without family and friends from home, without any rigamarole or typical wedding traditions.   And it was perfect!

Why the tiny wedding?

I was in nursing school and I came out to Hawaii on my spring break.  When we got married, I was here for ten days: two days before the wedding and eight after.  It was a quick trip!  But it was all I could squeeze in because of my crazy (horrific) school schedule.

Matthew’s in the USMC: they could change his schedule, deny his leave, send him to the range, or do any number of things that could jeopardize having the wedding on a specific day (the literally own him), so we didn’t want to risk having people arrange travel to Hawaii and then things got all messed up with his schedule.

Furthermore, because of how long distance we were during our whole courtship we wanted and needed the time together without entertaining people. Without picking people up from the airport, or taking them out to dinner – we wanted/needed time just the two of us.   We also planned the wedding in a few months and we had a very tiny budget, so yeah – arranging cross-Pacific travel wasn’t happening.

The Dress

I wore a really pretty yellow dress (hand dyed, organic cotton from Gypsy 05);  Matthew asked me to wear yellow.  We were tossing out nearly every other tradition, so why wear white?  Yellow is his favorite color on me, and when he left for Afghan in ’09, I wore a yellow dress to his send off.  The whole time he was in Afghan, when he thought about me he imagined me in yellow.  So it was perfect, right?  (Isn’t that lil story soooo cute and sweet?  I’m so lucky to have such an awesome romantic story).  Also, the dress went great with his Blues.  Ahh, he looked so handsome in his Blues.  Marines have the best uniforms.

The Photos

We did hire a photographer.  We decided since we asked our families not to come out, that the least we could do would be to have a pro come make sure that all of the special moments were properly captured.

Check out the professional photos:   (and truthfully, the first half of the sideshow is NOT as good as the second half, so I won’t get mad if you fast forward).

Our photog was great, loved her!  But she gave me a CD of all the pics on a kind of disc that my Mac can’t/won’t read.   So yeah, I don’t have any of the pro pics on my computer/posted online individually.  I’m able to order prints though, so I have plenty of framed prints all over our house.

The Day Itself

We got ready together, so taboo – I know!  I did my own hair and my own make-up, and we drove our rental car to the beach.  Our pals, the Rev, and the photog all met up with us and we did the durn thing.  It had been raining all morning.  Our wedding was at noon, and at about 11:45 the sun came out. All of the clouds cleared away.  By 1:00pm it was raining again.  AMAZING, right?  It was literally raining on our drive there, and I was worrying because we had no contingency plan, other than to just get wet and go with it.

We stood on the sand and Rev Kermit said some blessings, blessed the rings and we exchanged them.  We did both the traditional vows (I wanted them) and we wrote our own (Matthew wanted this), and we smooched as we were proclaimed husband and wife!   I loved our ceremony, it was so sweet.

reading my vows. of course i had this huge piece of paper with my vows.

Afterwards, we walked across the street to Buzz’s and had lunch with the friends who came.  I think I had a fish sandwich?  It was so good though, and I remember just sitting there reeling with happiness, and staring at the band on my finger.  What a happy day!

Our Honeymoon

Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore = the most amazing awesome place to go for a honeymoon.  Well, it’s the only honeymoon I’ve ever been on, but it was so perfect and great I can’t imagine a better place we could have gone.  The food at all of the restaurant was incredible, the pool had waterslides, the spa was wonderful (we got an oceanfront couples massage. umm, amazing!), just everything was perfect!

checkin' in at turtle bay

my first night as mrs. duggan - and we spent it ordering room service and watching movies. here i am all cozy in my jammies, crazy knee socks included!

carly gifted us these mugs; i use my "r" mug every single day

i was so skinny a year ago. so much can happen in a year, like twenty pounds of "so much." sheesh!!

i love my husband more and more every day

It’s been a year

I have NO regrets.  I’m actually beyond thankful for having the wedding we did.   I always thank Matthew for our wedding and that we did it exactly how we did it, it was just our perfect day.  And as time passes, I’m so grateful we don’t have wedding debt, or that no family drama occurred because of our wedding, etc.

I see so many of my friends going into debt, getting ulcers from the stress of planning, getting into fights with loved ones over small wedding-related details.  I cannot imagine making a seating chart or a registry (I could write an entire blog post about how weird I think registries are and how we have everything we need and I feel so weird telling people what to buy me).  The American industrial-wedding complex is just insane.  The money and craziness, how elaborate weddings are – it drives me nutty.  People spend more money on their wedding than they do on their cars!

I wonder what would happen if every dollar spent on weddings was spent to fight world hunger.

Now, don’t get me wrong: saying our vows in front of our families and friends would have been amazing.   I certainly understand why that’s important and I value that.  But I just believe there’s a way to celebrate reasonably and a way that’s too over the top (in my opinion).

I wish there was a way to un-plant the seed that gets into the noggins of little girls and makes them fantasize about their dream wedding from the time they’re talking.  So many girls grow into women thinking that they must have this giant spectacle for a wedding.  But the real important part is finding someone you love and want to spend the rest of your life with.  The marriage, the vows, the love – that’s what really matters.

Anyways… I didn’t really have any intention of going off on a rant about my disdain for ridiculous weddings, but it is what it is.  Oh, to clarify, if you’re a super rich multi-millionaire type and you have a wedding that costs $100,000, that makes sense.  But if you’re living like me and you have a super pricey wedding that sends you into serious debt, it just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

vog, pipeline, and shave ice

Today was a super Hawaiian day for us.

Carly, Ashley and I decided to venture to the North Shore for a beach day that wasn’t our same ole, same ole. (Usually we just go to the beaches here on base, which are gorgeous… but we’re on that whole quest to see more of the island, yeah).

This morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  It seemed like it would be a perfectly amazing beach day.  Then I learned about VOG.  Vog is volcanic fog that rolls into the skies of Oahu during “winter.”   Its a kind of pollution from volcanic sulfur dioxide mixing with oxygen (according to wikipedia anyways).   Blah blah blah science talk… the bottom line is that vog is yucky and makes everything outside look yucky.  It makes it seem like the weather is crappy, when it really isn’t.  And my asthma friends are having a hard time breathing and exercising outside. Ewwy!

Our first stop was in Laie, at Hukilau Beach Park.  We got down to the sand, and then ended up turning around and going back to the car because it just not fun beach weather at all.

Looking south at Hukilau Beach Park (Laie, Oahu)

Looking north from Hukilau Beach

Hukilau Beach Park


So we decided to keep driving north.  As we’re passing Banzai Pipeline we see a ton of cars, and people, and we see all the stuff set up for a surf contest.  We’re thinking, so rad!

We walk up to the first tent we see and there’s a big contest sign and some brackets.  I can hear an announcer off in the distance, and some people are hawking tee shirts.  Neato!

Pipe Pro

We get a little closer and see the brackets posted.  The contest claims to be “pro” – but I don’t recognize a single name in any of the heats.  Weird. Hmm.

Contest Brackets

We get down to the beach, and we can hear the announcer calling out competitors names and what colors they’re wearing.   The caliber of the crowd is pretty small and not really as pumped as you’d think for the semi-final heats of a major pro contest; there isn’t really any fanfare or commotion going on.  There wasn’t a stage, or any music, and we only could see one photographer.

Yeah, we’re idiots.  It took us a few minutes to realize this was a pro BODYBOARDING competition.

Turns out pro boogie boarding, although pretty sweet and impressive in its own way, is not really that fun or cool to watch.  Especially not if you were expecting that maybe you were about to see pro surfers.  It was also a pretty small day for Pipeline, so that was ho-hum too.  We hung out for a bit hoping it would get sunny, but the vog got the best of us today.   The beach itself (Banzai Pipeline) is really pretty, and we had a nice time just laying down and chit chatting.  Even though it was voggy, it was still warm enough for the beach.

A small day at Pipeline

The contest crowd + judges tent

Do work!

Come on... you know you wanna come out and give me a tan (cancer).

Ashley, Carly, Rose (me) - and the doggie is Bailey, Ashley's pup!

After watching some sweet boogie action, it was time to move on.

The final stop of the day was in Haleiwa, which is a super cute town that’s totally overrun with tourists.  We decided to wait in line for some shave ice from Matsumoto Store.  Word around the aina is that it’s the best save ice on the North Shore.

Matsumoto's Line

too many flavors, so hard to choose

Shave Ice is basically a sno cone, only they call it “shave ice” in Hawaii.  I have no effing idea why its not called shaveD ice, or a sno cone.  But it is what it is.  Shave Ice.  The ice itself is super duper soft, really finely crushed.  Which I guess does make it very unlike a snow cone.  Its like powdery snow really, and there’s no biting necessary.  The flavors are crazy tropical sweet awesomeness, and totally full of very poisonous dyes.  Sometimes you gotta take a walk on the wild side though.

I chose “The Hawaiian” – banana, pineapple, and coconut.

The Hawaiian (holy deliciousness)

I chose wisely.  That janx was so tasty and sweet.  This is a SMALL (can you believe that?) and it costs like $2.  I think mine was $2.75 because I opted to add “beans.”  They literally put beans in the bottom.  I know that sounds so weird, and it kinda is… but they cook the beans (Japanese red beans, although they looks and taste just like black beans/frijoles negros) in sugar water, so they’re kinda candied.  Anyways, whatever they are, they’re also delicious and I should have gotten a picture of them because I’m sure the whole thing sounds weird and crazy (because it is).

I ate mine the fastest.  And in true Rose fashion, I got it all over myself and made a mess.  A very happy, satisfied mess.

I'm queen of the shave ice!

All in all, it was a pretty fun day with my girlies.   Vog and boogie boarders aside, we still giggled and had a good time. I always do when I’m with my gal pals!