Category: Life Lessons

Things To Do In Kauai -Honeymoon Style

If you haven’t been to Kauai, what are you waiting for? You don’t even need your passport to visit one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the entire world! For those engaged or the soon-to-be newly weds, I highly recommend spending your honeymoon on this beautiful, romantic and secluded island.

Kyle and I were lucky enough to spend one week in Kauai at the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy. It is a beautiful timeshare property that is quiet, conveniently located, and comes with a full kitchen, which is quite useful if you are looking to save a little money in Kauai.
Beach Boy KauaiHoneymoon In Kauai

Kauai is full of adventure, endless beautiful beaches and lots of little fun bikini shops. Here is my list of things to do in Kauai, honeymoon style.

Things to Do In Kauai Honeymoon Style

Enjoy Kauai’s Many Beaches

Poipu

Kauai's Best BeachesSnorkeling at Poipu Beach

Ke’e Beach

Ke'e Beach Kauai

Kealia Beach

Kealia Beach
Kauai is THE place if you are looking to lay on beautiful beaches with warm inviting water and tons of sunshine. If you are looking for beaches that you can swim in, my favorites were Poipu Beach and Ke’e Beach. They were quiet and the waters had soft gentle waves that crashed along the shore. Kealia Beach was beautiful and had only a few people in sight but the waves were much bigger if you are looking for more action in the water to surf or body surf.

Fly High on a Helicopter Tour

Kauai Helicopter Tour
The helicopter tour took us over the entire island of Kauai and was most definitely our favorite part of the trip. As you would expect, it was also the most expensive part, but if you sit through a timeshare presentation you can get a 2-for-1 deal! We went with Sunshine Helicopter Tours and had a wonderful time. Make sure you request the front seat next to the pilot or you will only have views outside one side window. Here is just a glimpse of the breathtaking views over the Napali Coast.
Kauai Helicopter Tour Kauai Helicopter Tour Kauai Helicopter Tour

Get Dirty on an ATV Ride

Kipu Ranch ATV
Our ATV ride at Kipu Ranch was incredible! A full day of fun in the mud, swinging from the rope swing that was used in Indiana Jones, and four wheeling through the area Jurassic Park was filmed in.
Kipu Ranch ATV
Kipu Ranch ATV
We loved our time at Kipu Ranch and it was totally worth the money! Make sure you get your own ATV, bring serious bug spray, lots of sunscreen, and be ready to ruin whatever clothes you wear from the red Kauai dirt.

Hike the Mountains

Kalalau Trail
Kauai is full of breathtaking hiking trails all over the island. If I would have known we were going hiking as much as we did I would have bought hiking shoes, BUG SPRAY, and a waterproof case for my phone.
Kalalu Trail

River on the Kalalu Trail
This is the most beautiful trail in the entire world! We only hiked 2 miles in to get to Hanakapaei Beach but it was the most memorable part of our trip.
Hanakapaei Beach
This excursion took about 5 hours due to the muddy trail, so I recommend if you want to do the full trail pick the driest day in the forecast and go early. The most enjoyable part for me was swimming in Ke’e bay and washing off all the dirt in the clear warm water. Truly incredible sights on this hike but make sure you slather on the bug spray, I got over 20 bug bites on just my legs alone.
Floating in Kauai

Shop In Hanalei Bay

Kauai Juice Co
Hanalei is my bae…but really I love this place. The town of Hanalei is absolutely adorable and so quaint. They have tons of fun restaurants, shops and local stores to peruse through. Stop in at Kauai Juice Co. for a freshly pressed tropical juice and enjoy the fruits of kauai; better than any beverage you will find on the island or the mainland!

Drive to Waimea Canyon

Waimea CanyonDrive up the winding road to the very top of Waimea Canyon to enjoy the beautiful “Grand Canyon” of Kauai. This is a quick trip up and once you are at the lookout, there isn’t much to do other than buy fresh fruit. So snap a few photos and enjoy the views of Waimea Canyon.

Explore the Napali Coast

Napali Coast Tour
The Napali Coast is unlike ANYTHING I have ever seen before. You feel like you are being transported to a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean because it is so secluded and untouched (fun fact: Pirates of the Caribbean 3 actually did film there). We went on the ocean raft tour which was very extreme, not relaxing at all but totally worth it. Just make sure you slather on the sunscreen before you get on the navy seal boat because you will be wet ALL day. I highly recommend Kauai Sea Tours because they are one of the few companies allowed to take you to the holy grounds and visit the Hawaiian temple ruins. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a good attitude because you have to hang on to the raft for dear life for about an hour each way while being sprayed in the face with water. But the highlight of going early in the morning was seeing numerous sea turtles and sooo many spinner dolphins.

Kayak The Wailua River

Kauai RiverWater Fall HikeKayaking the Wailua River was a really fun filled day of rowing, exploring, and singing with our tour guide form Rainbow Kayak Tours. Make sure you are ready to get an arm workout, hike into more bug infested areas, and see beautiful waterfalls! We brought our lunch and had a little picnic with the wild chickens by the falls. The falls were pretty small in this photo because we didn’t get much rain on our trip!

Have a Romantic Sunset Dinner in Princeville

Princeville SunsetSt Regis KauaiSunset in PrincevillePrinceville is one of the most posh areas of Kauai. The St. Regis resort is THE nicest hotel I have ever had the pleasure of staying at. It is way better than the Grand Waillea that everyone raves about in Maui. If we had an endless honeymoon budget, I would have booked our entire stay at the St. Regis. Our beach view was priceless, the restaurant overlooking the sunset was incredible, and the everything about this place was luxury.
Someday Kyle and I will return to Kauai and enjoy the island once again. Please feel free to share anything other fun things to do in Kauai so we can add to our list for next time. Aloha!

What I Want In My Twenties

Hidden Beach Lake Tahoe

It’s been about a month since I last blogged and mostly it’s because I’ve been spending all of my spare time glued to the television, devouring every last episode of True Blood on Netflix. It’s ridiculous, I know, but it became so important for me to finish the series even though the last 10 episodes were trash. Now that I’ve left my fantasy world of vampires and werwolves, I find myself having time to write again and focus on reality.

I’ve been taking a few moments each day to really be grateful for where I am in my walk of life. At the age of 23, I feel very blessed and satisfied at where God has led me and what he has allowed me to accomplish. At the same time, I have been looking at where I am now and what I want for my twenties. Kyle and I are already discussing retirement plans, it may sound crazy but it will be worth it!

The biggest longing I have in my life is to be involved with a church and a group of people that inspire me. I am so blessed to have an amazing family, an incredible husband, and a job I enjoy, but being a part of something that goes beyond this lifetime and makes a lasting impact is what every person truly desires. We’ve been in Vegas for a year now and Kyle and I still haven’t found a church home. It saddens me to say that but I know God has something great in store for us.

The next goal in mind is being completely credit card debt free. Kyle and I have worked so hard to pay off student loan debt, now it is time to say goodbye to VISA and Discover until we can pay it off.

As far as family plans, I would like to keep my family as-is for the moment. No babies for us unless God answers my wonderful Mother-In-Law’s prayers sooner than I hope. (Have I mentioned I literally have an angel as a Mother-in-Law? God takes her prayers very seriously.) Being a mother is a beautiful thing, but I am not there yet at all. So many of my friend are having adorable little bundles of joy, so for now being Auntie is perfect.

The benefit of being baby-free and soon to be debt-free is taking the liberty to travel with my husband. I want to take one incredible trip each summer for the next 7 years and look back at this time in my life with so many memories and so much gratitude. I want to spend as much time with Kyle as possible and really cherish our marriage while we see the world together.

While exploring different cultures, I want to EAT and when we are home, I want to cook as much as possible.  My mom gifted me the ability to do work in the kitchen and I would love to develop that skill even further.

When it comes to my career and education, if I was offered an opportunity to get my master’s degree for free, I wouldn’t turn them down. But right now I do not want to invest any more money in student loans, instead I am taking advantage of career development workshops in my field and learning more in my area of expertise. I am very blessed with the job God has given me and I am so thankful to work in a healthy, happy environment with likeminded coworkers and bosses.

Lastly, I want to spend my twenties focusing on my physical health. I want to workout everyday and look forward to my time in hot pilates, dance, or whatever type of exercise it may be. Although this may be quite the opposite of my desire to eat, I know I can make healthy meals that also serve my culinary palate. I want to find a way to be a dancer, work a solid nine-to-five, and feel physically healthy.

As you read this, I hope you take a moment to think about what you desire most in your life, what that means for your future, and most importantly how those things will impact you beyond your time here on earth. The only way to get what you want in life, is to first know what you want. Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment. I would love to hear them!

 

The Harm in Hesitation

0001-45237169One attribute I admire most about my husband, is his ability to spring out of bed the second his alarm goes off in the morning. I mean literally, he jumps up to his feet like it’s a race and he’s gonna win! From the moment he realizes a new day has begun, he goes for the gold! Myself on the other hand…I have a complicated relationship with my snooze button. It’s an on-and-off affair with a series of breakups where I determine whether I should sleep five minutes more or abandon my warm, cozy bed to sluggishly start my day. Why is it that we differ so greatly? What is it that makes him get up instantaneously without any hesitation at all?

A few seconds of doubt before a decision can make or break the moment. It’s similar to the first question on Family Feud where two people race to press the buzzer. The first person to hit the button gets to answer the question, regardless of if they know they have the right answer. The person who moves without fear of being wrong is awarded with the opportunity to win the game, but the person who hesitates gets nothing.

What if we lived a life without hesitation? What if we asked for that raise we’ve been hesitant to ask for? What if we jumped right when the moment was good for the taking/ What if we were more like little kids and just went for it? In my time of self reflection, I’ve noticed hesitation is a major setback holding me back from my full potential. I’ve also noticed, I’m not alone. So many people are slow on the trigger. They have no fire or sense of urgency in their life. In my workout classes, the teacher will yell with gumption, “Mountain climbers for 20 seconds! Three, two, one, GO!”, and you wouldn’t believe how many people skip out on the first three seconds before they start the drill. What if it’s that first THREE SECONDS stopping you from reaching your goal. Those THREE SECONDS, are when fear, doubt, and laziness win and you loose that moment forever! The popular latin saying Carpe Diem, means “seize the present” or literally translated means to pluck the moment while it is ripe, just as you would a fruit. The saying does not mean, “seize the day, when your ready” or “think about seizing the moment”. The word seize, expresses a sense of urgency, strength, and decision to move without hesitation.

I would like to think, that by identifying hesitation in our lives we can improve ourselves and seize the present moment; for it is the only moment we are guaranteed.

 

My Struggle With Perfectionism

Letting Go of Sticky Thoughts

Tuck your butt under, lift your chin, put your shoulders down, relax your face and be graceful are just a few thoughts going through a dancer’s mind at anytime. When we aren’t performing, we are thinking about the last piece we just finished and how it can be better next time or what we did wrong that needs to be corrected. This mentality is extremely hard to turn off. The critic that lives in every dancer’s mind that propels us to be greater, try harder and do better is sometimes the same little voice that tells us we are too fat, too old, or not talented enough.

I’ve been dancing since I was two years old and because of my extensive training, critiquing myself in all facets of my life is second nature. As I have learned more about why I think and act this way I have started on a mission to learn how to turn off the perfectionist inside and learn to live in the moment, accepting myself and everything in that moment without judgement. This is by far, the hardest thing I have ever done. Sometimes I laugh because I catch myself, criticizing myself for not accepting the moment as well as I should have and the whole method falls apart.

After my parents split up, I decided I should see a therapist because my thought life was causing me emotional disturbance and distress that was keeping me from sleeping. I was lucky enough to see a therapist through my university for free and I learned a few things that really helped me let go of the reoccurring thoughts I was having a hard time letting go of. The most interesting thing I learned in counseling was how to distance myself from those thoughts and how to be visualize them in order to release them. Now, when I find myself having what my therapist called, “sticky thoughts” I resort to this technique. The first thing you must do is imagine yourself sitting by a small brook, leaning up against a large maple tree right next to the flowing water. Imagine the tree has beautiful golden brown leaves that slowly fall, one by one and drift into the river below. As a leaf hits the water, you image a single thought you’ve had on that leaf. Then visualize the leaf falling into the water and watching that leaf slowly float away down the stream until it is out of sight. This process is repeated until you can let go of those thoughts, and for me, I used it as a technique to quiet my mind and fall asleep.

Now you are reading this, feeling one of two ways: the first, identifying the same tendencies in yourself and appreciating my honesty, or the second, finding this mindset totally foreign and scary that I experience such a thought life. I wanted to write about my struggle with perfectionism and sticky thoughts because I find that sharing my experience is not only helpful to my own journey but maybe I could reach one other person who has had the same struggle. I hope that you found this blog helpful in accepting yourself and that my technique to distance yourself from your thoughts was useful.

Please feel free to comment & share below if it suits you and thanks for listening.

How To Pay Off Student Loans In A Year

Last May, I graduated the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. As I walked across the stage I was handed my diploma and $27,000 of federal student loan debt.

Since it’s graduation season and many of my friends will be entering the business world on their own, I thought I would share how I paid off all of my student loans in one year!

destiny-with-diploma

Work Two Jobs, or Maybe Three

This may seem like the easiest piece of advice, but many students are not motivated enough to start working 60+ hours a week right after graduation. Many study abroad, work part time and take it easy the first summer. Unfortunately most student loans are already incurring interest while you’re taking it easy during summer. This is the only way to pay off your student loans…work, work a lot. Make a goal for yourself to commit one year to nonstop work so you can enjoy being debt free for life.

Don’t Vacation

Just stay still for at least one year. Have your friends come to you and don’t waist money on vacationing because guess what, you have so many jobs you probably can’t get the dates off anyway. Sure, one year can seem like a long time, but you will end up paying so much less in one year than you would if you did in 5 years or even 10. If it makes you feel better I took off a total of 1 full day in 6 months, that’s the kind of commitment it takes to pay off your student loans in a year.

Get a Mint Account

Go to Mint.com, get an account, link it to every account possible, and BUDGET. Pay your bills on time and don’t overspend. This takes self discipline, but hey, you got through 3 hour lecture classes, you can be in charge of your own bank account and your future.

Make Payments Weekly

The more often you can make payments on your loans, the better. If you can manage to pay some amount every week, this will save you small amounts, but every little bit helps.

Cut Memberships

Say bye-bye to Birch Box, Dropbox, Ipsy, Stichfix, Cosmopolitan and any other monthly subscription you have. Remember the goal and you will have something to look forward to this time next year.

Give The Gift Of Words

So you went to some fancy college and became educated, well now its time to use your eloquent vocabulary to write beautiful cards. This year, all presents will be made with paper and a pen. Save money on gifts and explain why you couldn’t splurge this year on Christmas, your true friends and family will understand and respect your determination (so long as you don’t buy anything new for yourself).

All of these things may seem like common knowledge but they are harder to implement than you think. I am so thankful to be done paying off my student loans and I feel so relieved to not have any debt hanging over me. And I must say, if Kyle and I can get married the same year we paid off $27,000 of my loans and $9,000 of his, you can do it!

Share some of your budget savvy tips on how to pay off student loans in a year in a comment below, I would love to hear them!