Monday, September 1, 2014

photo diary #35: labor day weekend in oahu

photos by me and charles with a canon 6d

A few photos from the last couple weeks here in Hawai'i. Various photos from throughout the island. This is probably my favorite photo diary at the moment. It just goes so well together (at least for me). I'm trying to expand my "work" I guess you can say. Trying out different compositions and such. 

But anyway, hope everyone's Labor Day Weekend is going pretty well! We'll be spending tomorrow at Waimea Bay as well as one of my newest favorite places to snorkel on the island in the North Shore. I don't think I've ever had so much fun floating around and swimming with the fishes than I did the other day so we decided to go back. Hopefully it's not too busy. We'll probably then grab lunch in Hale'iwa at Dat Cajun Guy for some shrimp (I'm thinking buffalo for tomorrow). Maybe some sweet tea to quench my thirst. I would go for iced coffee but Charles just bought Cafe Du Monde coffee at the market the other day. No point in buying iced coffee if you can make it at home!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

photo diary #34: LA

Oh to be in LA again. I was actually supposed to be in LA a lot longer than I was actually there. But at the last minute, the VERY last minute, I postponed my flight to a few days later. But anyway, the trip was short and definitely well spent. Took the first flight out of Honolulu with my brother and landed just in time to grab not only In-n-Out for dinner but King Taco. Yea, the TWO things I miss about living in California: In-n-Out and Mexican food. The following day, my brother dragged me to grab breakfast at Fantastics for some breakfast burritos. I then drove ourselves to Downtown LA to grab coffee and desserts at Urth Caffe, drove home, went to Trader Joe's to pickup my favorite candied pecans and then to Ikea for some stuff to buy for the house. We then grabbed boba at Cha for Tea and met up with a friend (Hi Diana!) and thanks to my tea, I could not sleep (in combination with the fact that I was on Hawai'i time), still couldn't sleep and slept only two hours before I had to take my brother to LAX so he can catch his flight, drove home, got ready, went to my hair appointment to get my haircut, got my eyebrows "did", went home and ate leftovers, met up with friends who then took me to have dinner with her family and then they drove me to see the Rubber Duck in San Pedro. I then packed the little stuff that I had to bring back to Hawai'i, caught a SuperShuttle with my mom to LAX and took the first flight out to Honolulu. Short and sweet.

At the moment, I won't be flying to LAX next month since Charles and I have plans to travel somewhere. Where to? Who knows? We have an idea on where we are going though and we're really excited about it. But I will be back in LA to work on a couple photo shoots in October. I'll be contacting those who wish to do a photo shoot with me about my dates!

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 reasons why you should go to chinatown in honolulu

The island of O'ahu is well known for it's stunning blue and clear beaches, the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, the famed Diamond Head that sits on the south east shore of the island, the perfect year round weather, the up to 40 feet waves during the winter months, and the abundance of colorful sea life in Hanauma Bay but little is known about an area in Honolulu that we frequent a lot: Chinatown. Yes, Chinatown. It isn't as big as Chinatowns in the Mainland but if you get passed the "unpleasant traits" of Chinatown, it definitely has its charm. Before I moved to Hawai'i, I've always avoided Chinatown for some reason. If there was a restaurant in Chinatown that I wanted to try, I always put it off. Why? Tourists don't go to Chinatown (or at least I didn't). Plus, the parking situation looked terrible (I mean, Waikiki is already bad as is).

Fast forward to 2014 and we're in Chinatown every single week. It started off when we decided to try a Chinese restaurant and I noticed that Lucky Belly was around the corner. Lucky Belly was one of the restaurants that I've always wanted to try. We immediately decided that we had to go back although we dreaded parking but we kind of fell in love with Chinatown. After many trips to Chinatown, we found out the most economical way to park there. Ask me where it is and I'll gladly tell you!

But anyway, here are 5 reasons why you should go to Chinatown (and around Chinatown) in Honolulu:

1. The Manifest

The Manifest is the one coffee shop/bar that we go to all the time. Like, every-single-week all the time. You probably have already seen from one of my previous posts that this place I absolutely love their decor: exposed bricks and lights strung across the room. They also display amazing art that's rotated out frequently. During the day, The Manifest is a coffee shop serving up hapa mochas, haupia mochas, plantation iced tea, and other beverages to help you get through your day. Many regulars go here, equipped with their laptops, doing their business. There are also furry regulars here. On more than one occasion, we have seen dogs inside The Manifest! We have yet to take Curry here but our friend barista/bartender has been waiting anxiously to meet him! (EDIT: We took Curry here the other day for National Dog Day!). At night, The Manifest turns into a bar which can get packed and busy. We've also been to The Manifest at night. Completely different vibe from the day but still a lot of fun.

2. House of Aria

{wearing a jumpsuit from House of Aria}

Trendy clothing is pretty sparse in Hawai'i but even with the recent addition of H&M in Waikiki, the boutiques per square mile isn't comparable to SoHo in New York City or Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. What doesn't help is the exorbitant price tag for shipping from some of my favorite retailers (and some retailers do not ship to Hawai'i at all.... oh the struggle). But House of Aria fills the void for some quick shopping. Reasonably priced, House of Aria sells trendy clothes if I need the clothes right now. If you're lucky, you can find some really good stuff from the 50% off rack.

4. The Pig & the Lady

The Pig & the Lady is one of our favorite restaurants in Chinatown. I wrote a post on The Pig & the Lady and it's definitely going on the list as one of the reasons why you should go to Chinatown! The decor is amazing and the food is beyond scrumptious. We've dined here both during lunch and dinner and during both times, they have been super busy. You must try their coconut horchata and Charles loves the bone marrow and as well as their house soda. They have different flavors each week. The pineapple sage was my favorite but Charles thought the celery one was his. 

5. Lucky Belly

Lucky Belly is actually the one restaurant I wanted to try in Chinatown back when I lived in California. Like I said, the parking situation just deterred me from actually dining here. But anyway, when we were dining at another restaurant, I noticed that Lucky Belly was just around the corner and after realizing how awesome Chinatown was, Lucky Belly was on our list as the next restaurant we wanted to try. We've only dined here during lunch (I would love to dine during dinner; I need to try the lobster shumai!) so I can only comment that it gets busy during lunch; can't say too much about dinner.

I ABSOLUTELY love their plantation iced tea here. If you're not familiar with plantation tea, think of it as an Arnold Palmer but with pineapple juice instead of lemonade. We have ordered almost the entire lunch menu but here's what to order: try their pork bao! They're actually pretty good and we've had quite a few not just here in Hawai'i but elsewhere. I also ordered the Belly Bowl and it has a smoky flavor that I really love. The broth is delicious and I was definitely slurping this bowl!

5. Thanh Coffee & Bubble Tea

Craving boba? Who doesn't because I do! Thanh Coffee & Bubble Tea is the place to go to for boba in Chinatown. It's a little hole-in-a-wall located inside the Maunakea Marketplace. Mango is my favorite flavor for everything and I was quick to say that I wanted the mango with pearls. While Charles was waiting for our drinks, he saw that they put fresh mangos in my drink! FRESH MANGOS! As soon as you take a sip, you immediately taste how the mango in this drink. Not only that, but the boba is really good. It's soft and has a great sweet flavor.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

photo diary #33: oahu

It's been a crazy last couple of weeks. After Hurricane Iselle and Julio dissipated as they approached the islands, we prepared ourselves for a crazy few weeks ahead of us. Two of Charles' brothers flew in to visit and then his mom followed the Sunday after. Followed by me and my brother flying to LA and him flying back on a Wednesday and then me flying with my mom the day after and taking our moms and brothers around the island. Charles' mom and one of his brothers has since left on Sunday then my mom left on Monday morning and all that is left is his younger brother who is here for another week-ish (he's here for a little less than a month). To top off the craziness, I didn't get to sleep a lot while I was in LA due to the fact that I just really don't sleep when I'm there. Spending time with family and friends while I'm out there is one of my priorities. Sleep can wait till I get back to Hawai'i (but I sure pay for it). And since we were being tour guides while in Hawai'i, yea the fact that sleep can wait till I'm in Hawai'i didn't work in my favor. And to put the cherry on top, I ate the spiciest ramen of my life on Sunday and I'm paying for it. I mean, I can eat XXtra Flaming Hot Cheetos like a boss. This ramen OWNED me. Sleep deprivation + dehydration = body is out of commission.

Anyway, let's talk photos. Curry has some serious love for the beach. He hated it before but now he LOVES it. I try to find beauty in everything. Even if it's a hibiscus flower at Target or some random palm tree in some random place. Yea, you really can find beauty ANYWHERE if you put your heart into it. It just helps that Hawai'i makes it really easy for me. Homemade donuts because we can and because I love taking photos of pretty food. See, random palm trees makes for a great photo right? Chilling in the cove. One of my favorite places on the island. Palm tree reflections in Ko Olina. Mango season is in full bloom right now and foraging mangos in the backyard is actually pretty fun. Getting hit by one while picking isn't. The Pig and the Lady is always photo worthy and one of the few times we make it to Waikiki since we've moved here. Why does parking suck so much there?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

happy aloha friday

Sorry for the lack of updates in the last few days. Left for LA on Monday and just got back yesterday and have been busy being tour guides for our families. Took a short trip there to bring my mother to Hawai'i. I was supposed to leave for LA last week BUT I decided last minute to stick around a few more days because I JUST spent a whole month and more in LA earlier this summer. Not that I didn't love LA but I'm having a lot of fun here in Hawai'i right now. Like I said on my Instagram: can't live with you. can't live without you. Four days was enough for me. 

Anyway, here's a photo I took yesterday from the plane. You can see Honolulu International Airport on the bottom right but you can also see our home in Ewa Beach as well! Check out the blues in the photo though. Beautiful right? I LOVE seeing O'ahu from the plane. The best time to get incredible photos from the plane is a few hours before and after noon when the sun is high up. That's when the blues of the ocean really pop. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

photo diary #31: westside, waikiki, and lanikai

Charles' brothers are currently on the island so we've been taking them around. I love being a tour guide (hence why I'm doing this blog) as well as other things. It gives me an opportunity to connect with people as well as show them how even beautiful this island is apart from all of the tourist attractions. Don't get me wrong, I'll bring you to tourist locations because I'm a firm believer at doing things at least once in your life like luaus (if you haven't already). Even better, I love showing people around when it comes to food. I love food, sitting around the table, conversing with each other, and just having a good time. Please don't hesitate to share this blog to your friends!

Lately, Charles and I have been working on a few projects. I won't say what he's working on but this blog is one of the few that I'm working on. Trying to figure out a good layout. I've been having a hard time finding one that screams "me" but so far I have found nothing. Also, I have a few trips planned out for photography purposes. Kaua'i is one of them. There are soooo many places I want to take photos at on the island. Hopefully by the end of the year I get to go since I did say on a previous post that Kaua'i isn't a top priority right now. But anyway, I've been spending a lot of my days and nights editing, editing, and more editing then writing, and then researching. Trying to take on three-ish projects is time consuming but I know it will be worth it!