February 12, 2007

Guess where we’re honeymooning!


Today we met with a travel agent. She is a specialist in Hawaii vacations. Or not.

Matte and I have some ideas on where we want to go in Hawaii and one place is Hana. We found an awesome place to stay that was ranked the #2 spa in all of Hawaii by some magazine that ranks that sort of thing.

The problem with Hana (not a problem for us, really, we kind of like that “problem”) is that it’s basically in the middle of nowhere, very secluded. To get there by car, you travel the Hana Highway, which is beautiful and offers gorgeous scenery. We definitely want to cruise along that road, but neither of us is too excited about sitting in a car for three hours right after we get off the plane, so we figure we’ll stay in Kaanapali for the first night, and then hit the road to Hana the next morning. Because there’s not much to do in Hana, we want to go somewhere else after just a couple of days, either spend more time on the other side of Maui, or head off to the Big Island. But then again, it’s a three-hour drive back to the Kahului airport.

I suggested to the travel agent that we depart from the Hana airport when we’re ready island hop, rather than trek all the way back to the main airport on the other side of Maui. I mean, it’s right there. We can even return our Kahului airport-rented car there, in Hana.

The agent said, “There isn’t an airport in Hana.”

Uhm…yes. Yes, there is. And you can take inter-island flights for as low as $30 each way even.

But the Hawaii specialist had never heard of an airport in Hana.


Also? When she recommended a place for us to stay on the first night in Maui, she put us at a hotel that caters to families, where Kids Stay Free!

Uhm…what about the part where I said we want more seclusion, and to try and avoid the family-oriented places?

Guess she missed that part.

So yeah. I’m thinking we can book this honeymoon on our own, or go with a second recommendation I received. This is for a great travel agent that does actually specialize in Hawaii vacations, and mainly luxury Hawaiian vacations. My friend Lisa used them for her first anniversary and had a spectacular time, complete with room upgrades and welcome champagne.

So tell me: do you usually use an agent to book big important trips like this? Or do you do all the research and planning on your own? Do I want to take on additional planning when I’m already planning a wedding? I know I don’t want an agent I have to second-guess.

Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, both for travel planning in general and Hawaii specifically (Maui and the Big Island on this trip). Tell me what we shouldn’t miss.

February 9, 2007

Photo Hunt #3: Broken

Theme: Broken | Become a Photo Hunter


I took this photo back in April of last year. Someone on Flickr commented that it looks like a character from Disney’s Cars. Maybe that’s what drew me to it in the first place? Also, it reminded me of Sanford & Son.

I would love to go to a junkyard one day and see how many cool photos I could fit on my 2 GB SD card.

February 8, 2007

Stuff Portrait Friday: Something Red

OK, so it’s a little pink too:


Did you play? If so, be sure you visit Kristine and tell her too!

I’m fine, really


I have missed bootcamp all this week. For one thing, I was fighting off a cold earlier in the week and didn’t feel up to it. But the main reason I’m playing hooky is that there’s some funky stuff happening with my heart rate when I work out. I wear a heart rate monitor when I exercise, and I’m glad I do, so I can see what’s going on. It has been reaching 185, which freaks me out a little. I know I’m not in crazy good shape, but it seems a bit extreme to have a heart rate that high when I don’t feel like I’m overexerting myself at all.

I talked to my trainer about my concerns and she suggested I wear the monitor at home, when I’m basically at rest and see what my resting heart rate is. It’s pretty normal…high 60s to low 70s.

Of more concern to me than the heart rate is some pain I have in my chest. It’s on the right side, which is not usually a sign of cardiac issues, thankfully. But the pain is sharp, like the feeling you get if you swallow a triangular-shaped tortilla chip that isn’t entirely chewed. You know that feeling? Yeah. Sharp pain in chest is kind of freaky. So this combined with the exaggerated heart rate, I thought it best to see the doctor.

So today I did. (I’m fine, really.)

I described my pain to the doctor and judging from my symptoms, she thought it was a pulled muscle. She poked and prodded and when she touched that spot, it hurt, like when you touch a pulled muscle. Sort of bruise-y. She also checked my lung capacity, making me exhale as much as I could through a tube. I passed the test.

She clipped the oxygen thingee to my finger and it showed 100%. I aced that test.

The next step was an ECG (EKG). Never had one of those before. Exciting! The doctor had the technician come in, and why couldn’t it be Dr. McDreamy? Because, well. I had to be sort of naked on top. The nice lady stuck stickers here and there (“and do you have to stick one there?”) and then clipped the clippy things to the stickers and reviewed the paper that the machine spit out. (I am so hip to the medical terminology.)

I passed that test too.

Next week, I’m doing a treadmill test to see if my heart rate is within regular limits. According to my doctor, my current rapid heart rate during exercise could be due to “deconditioning.” OK. the good doctor is too polite. What she’s saying is that I am out of shape. Or at least not at the level of in-shapeness that this insane bootcamp workout requires. As I continue to work out, my heartrate should drop to less scary levels and all will be good in the ‘hood.

Just knowing that the chest pain is merely a pulled muscle, makes it not hurt so much now.

February 5, 2007

How sweet it is

02.03.07On Saturday Matte and I had our wedding cake tasting session. My sister the pastry chef came to offer her suggestions, as did our neighbor Liza. We only got to taste four of the twelve available flavors, but I think we chose the best four in the list. I’m glad we brought along third and fourth opinions because I woke up stuffed up and my taste buds were not performing at their highest capacity that morning. The samples are in the photo. From left to right, they are: traditional spice cake (spiced chiffon cake filled with praline buttercream and cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves), chocolate mocha mousse cake (filled with chocolate-mocha mousse lightly spiked with Kahlua), crème brulée chiffon (light vanilla chiffon cake with a luscious crème brulée filling studded with fresh strawberries), and chocolate-raspberry mousse cake (filled with rich dark chocolate mousse, soaked in Chambord liqueur and fresh raspberries).

First we tried the vanilla chiffon. Matte and I are both huge fans of crème brulée, so we had high hopes for this one. But the cake was, uh…dry. Like I almost cacked, it was so dry. I realize it’d been frozen for awhile, but there was no moisture to this cake whatsoever. And it wasn’t sweet enough for my taste. I did appreciate the little vanilla flecks in the filling, and the strawberries were good, but I immediately had flashes of guests clamoring across the table to pour a pitcher of water down their throats while gasping “Gah! This wedding cake is so dry! (hack!)”

The spice cake, our second taste, was much, much better. Yum. Oh. My. Gawd, Becky! I think it sucked up all the moisture that once resided in the chiffon cake because it was so moist, it almost melted in my mouth. And the filling was fabulous. Not too rich, not too sweet, but just right. And the icing was well, the icing on the cake.

Then came the two chocolate options. I don’t remember which we tasted first, because at my first taste I had a blood chocolate level of .5, which rendered me incapable of forming a logical thought. Wow. The devil’s food cake was good. It was moist and flavorful. But the pow came from the filling. I think I could have gotten drunk off the fumes alone. The chocolate mousse was so very delectably chocolaty. It was just hard to choose between the Chambord and the Kahlua filling. We ultimately chose raspberry after my sister informed me that the raspberries could keep the cake moister. Yes! Must have moist cake!

After we made this vital wedding decision, we headed over to the winery to show Sister and Liza where the wedding will be. I practiced walking to my entrance song, without taking a header down the steps, and then we tasted some wine. Because a breakfast of cake should always be followed by a wine course. And then we continued the wedding research at the restaurant that’s catering the wedding. All four of us tried the caesar salad (with homemade croutons) to accomodate our very large plates of food. We had to make sure our two judges agreed that the cuisine was sufficiently awesome to be served at our wedding. And it was. It is. It will be. Oh, you know what I mean.

2/6/07 UPDATED TO ADD: We opted for two flavors. Our wedding cake will have two layers of spice, and two of chocolate cake with raspberry mousse. I guess writing about all that chocolate got me dizzy again and I forgot to mention the winners!

February 2, 2007

Photo Hunt #2: Gross

Theme: Gross | Become a Photo Hunter


Is this not gross? It’s the cover of Matte’s special edition The Evil Dead DVD. I saw it on the shelf and found it utterly disgusting, so I knew it would fit this week’s theme of gross. I shot this fabulous piece of art last night. Today, a bird deposited a huge doo on my windshield. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me (oddly enough) and thus, you are spared a photo of bird poop, and get to enjoy this grossness instead.

February 1, 2007

Stuff Portrait Friday: Buttons

Kristine has put a new spin on SPF for 2007. The assignment is to take one shot only. This week, it’s buttons. These buttons are on Matte’s vintage football video game. I thought it was an appropriate shot, in honor of this Sunday’s football game that interrupts my commercial watching Superbowl.


So, did you play?

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