Monthly Archives: November 2010

House Decorating Project #1

I’m sort of a gift card hoarder. When someone gives me a gift card, I feel like I need to use it for something really exceptional. Occasionally I’ll purchase something from a store where I have a gift card, and because my purchase is menial or a simple necessity, I won’t use the gift card. I feel as though gift cards are to be used for splurges; something you really want, but usually can’t bring yourself to buy. I hope that one day my income will increase to the point where I’m able to eliminate this feeling, but for now, I hoard gift cards.

I’ve been hoarding Pottery Barn gift cards for 3 years. You saw that correctly….THREE YEARS. I’ve purchased an occasional little something from there, but because of this problem of mine, I’ve kept the gift cards, admiring their spending potential, filling my online shopping cart and emptying it…over, and over, and over again. In the past week I finally spotted a great sale on some Pottery Barn items I’ve been eyeing for a few months. I broke down, turned in my gift cards, and brought home a plethora of picture frames for the master bedroom with a huge, gleaming smile on my face. Turning in the cards felt right, which is a sure sign I’ve made a good decision.

This sale came at the perfect time. Last week we finally got our wedding photos from the photographer, so I had a bunch of pictures I wanted to print. I feel like the master bedroom is the only room where I have free reign to be completely self-absorbed, so I printed only pictures of Chris and I. I carefully selected which prints would look best in what size, and off to the printer they went. We sent them to Walmart since the largest size was only an 8×10. They came out terrible, not surprisingly, so what’s currently on the wall will serve as placeholders until the high quality prints are ready to go.

This weekend, amongst a bunch of family parties, Chris and I made it a point to get the pictures in the frames and on the wall. It entailed a bit more than I might have expected, but the result is so satisfying that I can’t wait to choose another project to begin….though I doubt the next relinquishing of gift cards will be all too soon.


First we arranged the photos on the bed. To hang them with the correct spacing, we cut the boxes the frames came in down to the size of the frame and laid them out. This was a great idea, because once we started arranging the cardboard on the wall we realized we didn’t have the space to arrange them as we initially intended.

After going “left a little bit”, “up an inch”, and “down and to the right” with the cardboard, we finally had our layout finalized. We had marked the cardboard where the nails needed to be, so we penciled in our nail spots and Chris banged away.

A bit of leveling later, we had the final result. Since the frames went up I’ve gotten kind of giddy every time I’ve walked in the bedroom, and I’ve not once regretted renouncing the gift cards.

Right as we finished our project, I headed to my parents’ house to take Cassie’s Christmas photo for my sister’s Christmas cards. Though it was hard to get a good shot amongst the ruckus in the house and her disinterest in my purpose, I think these two came out kind of cute:


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A little R+R with the Schuetts

A little over a week ago I flew from Boston to Minneapolis to visit Gretchen for the weekend of her shower. On the way to the airport I threw the first tantrum I’ve had since I was in mere single digits after forgetting my cell phone. I yelled at Chris and told him I couldn’t go without my phone. I was crying and panicking at the thought of flying and spending an entire 3.5 days without my iphone. Totally ridiculous. Chris finally told me to stop my whining and act like an adult.

My flight to Minneapolis was a direct one—this changed my outlook on flying. From now on, I’ll pay whatever extra fees I have to if a direct flight is available. Up and down and you’re there…it was amazing. Annnnnd for those of you that are wondering, pay phones still exist. Occasionally you might even be lucky enough to find one that accepts credit cards.

Gretch picked me up and we headed back to her place in Minneapolis. I can’t tell you how cool it was to finally have a window into a good friend’s life after years of phone and email communication and not much face time. Gretchen’s house is, well, perfect. After watching the heaps of dirty clothes, soiled dishes and sweaty gym stuff pile into different corners of our dorm rooms during college, this place blew me away. Everything is designed in such detail and so elegantly, and yet it all comes together in a way that is completely comfortable. It was an intellectually inspiring space…sitting in the living room I felt as though I should whip out my computer and write a novel, or at least begin reading one.

Saturday morning we woke up to the results of an overnight snowstorm. Everything was white and all of a sudden it felt mid-winter. The rest of the weekend there wasn’t a second that passed in the Schuett house without Christmas music blasting.

That morning was Gretch’s shower at her sister-in-law Becky’s house. Becky makes entertaining look easy and she does it flawlessly. The food was great and she avoided all things awkward that happen at baby showers (games, namely).

Please note how fabulous Gretch looks at 7 months pregnant. I might agree to eventually have children if someone could hand me a guarantee that everything other than my stomach would stay small like this. Might. Don’t get excited, that’s still the last thing on my mind. That was a strongly emphasized might.

Not only did I fall in love with Gretch’s house over the weekend, but I met my new BFF, Stella. She’s a yellow lab that I’m not even a little bit allergic to, and she slept with me two out of the three nights I stayed there. She’s got the sweetest face and a typical lab personality-playful and energetic. I just wanted to smoosh her little face all weekend.

The rest of the weekend I got to see a bunch of the quirky spots and highlights of Minneapolis…and of course we visited the Mall of America. It was big.

I felt a baby kicking inside of a stomach for the first time ever. It was weird and addicting all at the same time. I almost felt a hint of competition to have it punch or kick while my hand was looking for it. With all respect to Gretch (I’m sorry for being brutally honest) I can’t wrap my head around babies growing in bellies and it sort of seems alien-like to me. I have zero maternal instincts so I shouldn’t be surprised to feel this way. It did, however, make me extremely excited to see the little one once he/she arrives. I think he/she’s pretty aggressively strong, those punches were serious.

Sunday of my trip was Chris’s birthday. It was pretty amazing that he bought me a ticket to MN his birthday weekend. Happy belated Birthday to him!

In other news-Ellen defended her thesis today, and apparently it went really well. Congrats to Dr. Gualtieri!

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A 5 Hour Drive for Jelly

Jelly=Jay and Kelly.  No, we didn’t drive record distances for just any jelly.  Last Friday Chris and I drove to Philly, and we stayed until Monday.  Philly is about 5 hours without traffic, so it isn’t often we make it there, but for the past few years we’ve made it a priority to get there in October/November.  Chris and I have always referred to Jay and Kelly as, ‘our couple’.  We always do things as couples, and I like both of them to an enormous degree, which doesn’t happen everyday (though Jay is SIGNIFICANTLY more smelly).

Friday we didn’t get to Philly until after 9:30PM.  Chris ran my car nearly out of gas and had me hyperventilating for the last 20 minutes of the drive, then we rolled in and caught up for a few hours before bed.  Kelly and I are equally as lame, with 10PM bedtimes.  We took one for the team and stayed up until just past 11PM before turning in, then headed to bed.  Word on the street is that the boys were up far later than that.

Saturday morning we woke up, had some breakfast, then headed to Episcopal Academy where Kelly works.  If you think you’ve been to a high-end private high school before, chances are you haven’t compared to this place.  This place makes most private colleges look impoverished. We Jay, Kelly and Chris played a few games of squash and I took some pictures.  I’m not the most nimble with things involving fast movements; throw in a ball and I’m bound to injure someone.

We then headed to discount sushi for lunch—-50% off rolls.  Shuey and her friend Jill met up with us, as did Chip and Heather.  We were rude and started eating before anyone else showed up because we were extremely hungry.  We ate more sushi than would be considered normal for less than healthy prices, then headed to downtown Philly for a little touristy-treat.  We were introduced to “Condom Kingdom,” saw the liberty bell in all of its glory, and were introduced to some fabulous bars.

We stopped for Pabst blue ribbons and tator tots at Sugarmom’s….beer and fried food? OKAY!

We hung out for a while, I was reminded why Shuey is the most fun and entertaining friend ever, then we headed to Dark horse for a few ‘harder hitting’ beverages.  Kelly (“Keggy” by this point) and I stumbled upon a juke box and the rest is history.

We got home early….probably by 1PM.  I ordered more chinese than 50 people could eat for the 10 of us oops then decided my stomach felt like crap and forced myself to expel most of what I consumed that day.  Not typical, no worries.

The next morning we were lazy and took a long time getting ready.  After we were all alive and at em’, we headed to the Philadelphia Hunt Club.  We thought this was a fox chase, but it was not.  Though initially disappointed, it ended up being an A.MAZ.ING event.  No joke.  It was a horse race, which was a first for me to begin with, but it was a horse race over the river and through the woods.  We packed six of us into my car (they charge per car, we had to sit on laps to get the best deal), mistakingly entered first the $100/car lot, then the $300/car lot before arriving at our final destination, the $40/car lot.  Right in our budget.  There was more filth at this event than I’ve ever seen.  If your scarf wasn’t Burberry and you weren’t sporting a Louie, you weren’t anyone.  As we unpacked our carrots and subs, we realized most of the people surrounding us were enjoying their high-end wine and caviar.

It ended up being an excruciatingly cold day for Philadelphia.  Despite bundling up with scarf, hat, and Heather’s borrowed gloves, I was sooooo cold.  Jay and Chip snuck in to a private party in a little barn and stole us cider and hot chocolate, and I had a few minutes of euphoria as I sucked one down.

I was astonished…lame word, very appropriate….at how intense the horse jumping was.  For those that know Kristen, the one and only, she was an amazing horse-jumper in her day.  I have new-found respect for her now that I’ve witnessed this stuff.  A bunch of horses went down on jumps, one never got up, and even when horses got up, it was heart breaking to watch them fall.  Kelly cried.  No, literally…she cried.

I met saw an Irish Setter I named Porter, and fell in love.  If I didn’t have mild dog allergies, I would have offered more money than I have in my bank account to take him home.  He was precious.

After the race the boys watched football as the girls reluctantly sat next to them, then we went to dinner at Guiseppi’s BYOB Italian restaurant.  Anyplace that is BYOB gets a gold star right off the bat, but they had creative italian cuisine like a mango, pineapple, and other fruit salad with candied walnuts and Limoncello dressing.  Yum.  Kelly and Jay’s Philly friends Katie and Kevin met up with us, who only enhance any situation.  It was a good time.

When we got back to the house we watched a bootleg version of The Social Network (thanks Chip).  Since then, Chris has had low self-esteem about his life, been contemplating how to become the world’s second-youngest billionaire, and been walking around the house with his head down.  Aside from these unforeseen side-effects of the movie, it was a good one.  Worth a watch.

Monday Kelly headed off to work as a superstar math teacher before I was awake.  Chris and Jay talked techy stuff for most of the morning and Jay did a little bit of work before we headed to lunch.  We picked up our friend Justin from work at QVC, then had lunch at Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester, PA.  We (finally) met his girlfriend Veronica, who is tall, beautiful, and charming.  Perfect, really.  I had doubted her existence minus the fact that he moved from Rhody to PA for this mystery girlfriend.  She is not only real, but she’s great.

After lunch we stopped for some Starbuck’s, dropped Jeez Meez off at work again, then putted around Jay’s house for a while trying to find the right time to say goodbye.  After a semi-sweet goodbye, we headed back home.  It’s always good to make a Philly trip, but it’s always hard to say goodbye.  Jay and Kelly are the best.

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Crisis Averted: The Case of the Poisonous Mango

Chris and I had an interesting weekend.  This might be difficult to follow.

Day #1: Wednesday Oct 27th–>Chris ate two mangos ravenously….like a gorilla with a banana after a month of hibernation.

Day #2: Thursday Oct 28th–>Chris played the drums and sang at open mic night with his mouth dangerously close to/engulfing the microphone; later that night he complains of chapped/burning lips

Day #3: Friday Oct 29th–>Chris complains of burning lips and starts smothering them in vaseline

Day #4: Saturday Oct 30th–> Chris complains of burning lips non-stop throughout the day.  By 8PM he felt like they were “pussing”, so I took a look.  He had two ‘blisters’, one to his right (our left in the picture) of the midline of his upper lip, one in the left (our right) corner of his lip.  For an hour and a half it was decided that Chris had Herpes Simplex.  We were silent and sweaty for that time period, and I furiously flipped through my oral pathology book and planned my revenge against the little punk that spit all over the mic before Chris got to it.  By 9:30PM I had discovered that mango skin contains urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac, which can cause urushiol-induced contact dermatitis (herpes-like symptoms).  After discussing his mango eating and doing a little further research, we both couldn’t help but laugh at the herpes scare.  While Chris was thinking about not being able to kiss his future kids (should I decide to give him any in the future….), I was freaking out about contracting it from him and not being able to work every time I had a break out.  I’ve documented his symptoms and the progress of his reaction, and I’m going to try to get published on Urushiol-induced contact dermatitis secondary to mango skin contact.  We’ll see what happens with that.  These pictures show the Herpes to allergic reaction progression:

Sunday we had our first Halloween in the new house.  We had three doorbell rings-my niece, the two little kids from next door, and two truckloads of kids borderline too old to be trick-or-treating.  My niece was a unicorn, and was very cute when she stopped by.

Last week I worked my first full-time week as a real, live dentist.  The dentist I work for was away, and I covered his hours in addition to my own.  I did more dentistry in 40-50 hours last week than in the past few months I’ve been working part time.  I did more root canals in one week than in four years of dental school.  It got me amped up to finally be full-time in December when the new office is done.  Right now he only has two rooms he works out of, so we can’t work at the same time.  The addition in the back will give me two (eventually three) rooms of my own, so I’ll be able to work as often as I want.  I can’t wait to get started, start making some real money, and start paying some real (big) loans back.  I learned a few things last week, but most of all, I realized that I chose a really, really hard profession.  I love it (usually), but it is so damn mentally and physically stressful to not only do the procedures, but to explain to patients what you are doing, why, and make them comfortable while you’re doing it.  In the past week these things happened:

1) I had a patient with the same birthday as me, and when I told her that, she asked me if I was also born in 1973.  Apparently I pull off 36 in a white coat.  (Previously, when I asked a 25 yr old patient if she liked Michael Jackson, she responded, “No, I think he was more your generation”)

2) I had a child on laughing gas bite me, then tell me he was in love with me.

3) I had a patient give me a crocheted gift.

4) I had a patient text someone MID-EXTRACTION as I took out a root of his molar  “in the dental office, be out in 10”.

5) I had a patient show me facebook pictures of himself with Pauly D and ‘The Situation’ ask me if I wanted to buy a jeweled rosary from him (he sold them to the above mentioned guys).

After one interesting week as Dr. Lavigne, I can’t wait for more.

Before leaving for my first day of work, panic-stricken and nearly crapping myself, July 20, 2010:


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Honeymoon Part II: Kauai


After we got off of the plan in Kauai we grabbed our new rental car from Hertz, a white 4-dr Jeep Wrangler with a black soft top.  We didn’t rent this jeep until two days before we left for Kauai, and every rental car dealer was completely sold out except Hertz…so book ahead.  As soon as we left the airport and started driving to our hotel, we noticed two things:

1) All of the buildings in Kauai are much older than those in Maui-things don’t seem to be as touristy or well-kept.

2) Kauai is much greener and more lush than Maui-you can immediately see that they have significantly more rainfall.

On the drive to the resort we drove down 580, a street lined with huge green trees with fields on either side.  Very, very green fields.  Even I felt like I was in Jurassic park, so I don’t have to tell you how giddy Chris was.  We checked into the Sheraton Kauai, where Tamra had scored us an unbelievable deal.  It was around 2PM when we checked in, and we were starving.  We dropped off our bags and headed to the poolside restaurant, Oasis Bar and Grill.  Chris had a beer and I had some frozen concoction that was an ice cream lovers dream.  It had Kahlua, Bailey’s, Banana vodka and vanilla ice cream, among other delicious things.  We had chile and garlic edamame, and if you can handle high heat, it was some of the best prepared edamame I’ve ever had.  I ordered the ahi poke, which is raw ahi over a bed of rice with wasabi aoli.  Chris had a seared ahi tuna sandwich and fries.  Both were delicious and we ended up splitting the two dishes.

After we ate we fell into a food coma and napped in the room for a few hours before heading out to explore.  We woke up about an hour before sunset and drove west along the coast to the spouting horn, which is a blowhole in a small lava shelf where waves thrust through the opening causing water and air to force through.  We drove up a little further and found a small harbor to watch the sunset.

On the way back we stopped at a little food mart in a new plaza called Living Foods Market, which sold produce, cheeses, and expensive wines.  They also had an area to order pastries and breakfast foods.  Chris and I were kind of obsessed with this place from the beginning.  It was so well put together, had so many interesting and unique items to look through.  The menu was written on three huge chalkboards and the table to sit at inside was a huge chopping block with brown leather barstools.

We bought a six pack of Longboard and headed back to the room for some drinks before bed.  We weren’t overly hungry so we headed to another restaurant at our resort called:

The Point: Overpriced resort food that tasted like it came out of the freezer.

After a few appetizers for dinner we headed to bed…once again not making it past 9PM.

The next morning we started the day with the resort’s breakfast buffet.  You get one free buffet for each day you forego housekeeping, the second one was the standard price of $24.99.  Not worth the money-I can’t imagine paying $48 for two people to eat breakfast anywhere, but especially for the runny eggs this place was offering. After breakfast we drove the west coast of the island until you can’t drive anymore.  We ended at the Polihale beach at the end of a 4.8mile dirt road.  I wouldn’t do it without a 4-wheel drive car; it was a narrow, bumpy, dusty road that led to a fantastic beach with clear blue water and soft sand.  We stopped and put our feet in the water for a while, then Chris got excited about our jeep and drove up and down the huge sand piles.

For lunch we went to:

-Toi’s Thai: on Waialo Road before Hanapepe.  Our guidebook strongly recommended it.  All entrees come with a green papaya salad that was weird.  Not bad, but weird.  Not like anything I’ve ever tasted before.  The pad tai was top notch-definitely better than the one we had in Maui.

After lunch we drove to Waimea canyon, a huge gorge 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and more than 3,600′ deep.  I’ve never seen the grand canyon before so I was pretty blown away.

After exploring the western half of the island (or at least the drivable portion), we headed back to the resort and went for a quick swim in the pool and hot tub.  That was short-lived though—a few other couples quickly snuggled in with us.  I don’t like sharing that little water with too many people.  I know a ton of people go in and out all day, but knowing it and seeing it are two different things.  Gross.  Dinner was at:

-Naniwa Japanese restaurant:  At the Sheraton Resort.  The sushi was calling my name, perhaps screaming my name.  I even heard it whisper to me throughout the previous nights.  I finally answered that call and ordered a bottle of cabernet, edamame, two spicy tuna rolls and two spicy salmon rolls.  I actually thought this place trumped Sansei in Maui.  Despite being in a resort, it was extremely authentic.  Our waitress was an older woman from Japan who was so sweet–I formed a definite grandma-crush on her.  The spicy salmon was my favorite here.  We ended with mango cobbler, also highly recommended.

Friday morning we drove the eastern part of the island all the way around to the Na Pali coast where you can’t drive anymore.  We returned to Living Foods Market to start the day.  Chris and I both had egg and cheese sandwiches on freshly baked English muffins.  They had just come out of the oven-amazing.  I had never even thought about homemade English muffins, let alone seen one.  They were huge and scrumptious and I’ve dreamt about them ever since we left Hawaii.

This is why you need a GLASS straw:

From breakfast we started the drive, heading from Koloa/Po’ipu where we were staying up rt. 50 to 56.  We stopped at Wailua Falls,  only 4 miles off the main road.  The falls are 173 ft high, actually taller than Niagara Falls though obviously much less water.

We continued our drive up the coast with our next stop at the Kilauea lighthouse.  We stopped at the lookout point and grabbed a few pictures, but I have a thing for lighthouses so we paid the $5 per person to drive up to it.  It was under construction/renovation, so unfortunately we couldn’t get that close to it anyway.

After walking around for a bit we drove to:

-The Fish Market:  This lunch was the BEST food we had in Hawaii, and up there for the best lunch I’ve had, maybe ever.  I’m serious.  Look at the reviews online-they’re as remarkable as the food.  I actually found this place googling for the best food on the island, and it lived up to and exceeded all of my expectations.  It’s in a small plaza on the road leading to the lighthouse, and it’s BYOB-so stop at the little market next door for some booze if you please.  Everyone raved about their ahi tuna wrap and it was….orgasmic.  Chris had the Korean BBQ chicken plate, and it was a plate of fantastic local flavor.  I can’t put into words what a gem this little find was, but if you are ever on Kauai, you HAVE to go here.  Believe me.

After a very satisfying lunch we drove the rest of the north shore to the Na Pali coast.  We had plans to hike the non-driveable portion Sunday, so we didn’t stop to look around much.  We did stop at one beach where a sand bar separated a small fresh water pond from the ocean.  There was a group of very thin, beautiful women with children surrounding them.  A few of them were nursing and a few were pregnant.  They had very strange yet flattering swim suits on—a cross between a thong and a string bikini in the back, somewhat like a lycra triangle covering only the essentials.  Chris and I decided that they were in a cult and played out scenarios for the next half hour.  I settled on the theory that they all live in a beautiful mansion in Kauai with only one man who hides them away and spreads his seed, forcing them to run on the treadmill four hours a day to keep in shape while he flies back and forth to the mainland for investment banking.  I’ll probably write a novel about it one day—it was very intriguing.

After the drive back to the resort we showered and got ready for the luau we finally succumbed to.  We were on the fence about this up until the last minute, and used Scott Nolan as our lifeline who told us “you just gotta do one once”.  So, for $99 a person we headed to the Sheraton Kauai Luau.  WASTE.  OF.  MONEY.  When you dread going to something you paid that much for, you should know ahead of time that you’ve made a bad decision.  We were served Mai Tais as we waited in line to check in, then we had to choose a place to sit among five long tables.  No one already seated looked that fun, but they told us not to skip seats so we reluctantly found a spot next to a peculiar looking couple staring into space avoiding one another.  I’m not sure they could talk, they were mute most of the night with wide eyes at the amount of alcohol Chris and I consumed.  We headed back to the bar for more mai tais—we realized by this point that in order to get our money’s worth we would need to drink our way home.

Once we sat down again the MC asked honeymooners to come on stage.  If I were to list all of the things I wanted to do the LEAST at that moment, getting on stage would have been at the top of that list.  Chris, on the other hand, stood up and announced to our section that we were newlyweds and put his hand out for me to go up with him.  I glared at him with eyes that definitely said “sit down or you’ll pay significantly for this”, but he was persistent in telling everyone we were going up.  It got so embarrassing denying him in front of the surrounding couples that I eventually succumbed.  I told him the entire way to and from the stage that I was going to kill him.  We had a “couples dance” in front of the other 160ish guests that topped the most embarrassing/least enjoyable moments I’ve ever had.  They did a few more cheesy things involving the audience and then a buffet dinner.  There were a bunch of options like mahi mahi, mango chicken, pork and beef, but I felt like herded cattle waiting in line amongst hundreds of other tourists.  Chris and I continued to drink our way through the awkward environment and mediocre-to-poor buffet food and just started obnoxiously making fun of everything around us to ease the pain of the $200 down the drain.  We were those people.  Among my favorite games we developed that night were “R or F” (real or fake boobs) and “cable or no cable” growing up.  You should try these some time, they are extremely entertaining, especially 8 or 9 mai tais in.

There were only maybe 8 dancers at the luau, none of them even near as good as those at Betty’s beach cafe, and I think it was one of the guys first nights.  He didn’t know the moves at all and didn’t take his eyes off of the more experienced male dancer.  We called the new guy “Hawaiian Jay” because he was really cut like Jay.  We also gave him an A for effort and decided he deserved some drinks at the end of the night for all of the stress he must have been under.  This was the only major failure of the trip, which is pretty good.  I guess we can’t complain too much.

Saturday morning we woke up early to grab breakfast before our 9am couples massages compliments of Tamra and Joey.  We went to Living Foods Market again-we couldn’t resist.  We’d developed a huge crush on this place, we had to give them our business. We ate outside and discussed Rhode Islands lack of quirky hangouts-unless you’re in Providence where they’re all too busy or coastal towns too far to drive to regularly.  It got me amped up to move back to Connecticut.  We then headed back to the resort for our massages, where Chris had the “best massage of his life” (note that this was the second massage of his life, the first of which was in Nantucket a month ago, which was then the “best massage of his life”).  It was extremely relaxing and an awesome wedding gift.  It was a little weird both being in the same room.  In the entire 50 minutes, I didn’t say a word.  During those same fifty minutes, Chris repeatedly prompted his masseuse with comments like “amazing,” “unbelievable,”  and  “that feels perfect”.  Kind of weird.

After our massages we drove around a bit taking pictures and video.  I was recording Chris in the middle of a restricted field owned by the Botanical gardens when two tour buses started driving in.  We freaked out and ran to the jeep and drove away as quickly as possible to the closest parking lot where we ducked and hid in the jeep until the buses passed.  What Chris will do for a good shot of Katy Perry.  Shortly after that I got the worst cramps I’ve had since sophomore year of college.  I waited in the car while Chris rented snorkel gear for us, followed by three hours editing our Katy Perry footage and making the video.  For lunch we headed back to the Oasis Bar and Grill by the pool, and had pretty much the same meal.  It was delicious again.

At 4PM we went and snorkeled for an hour or so locally, then went back to the room to change for dinner.  While we were getting ready I ordered room service for the first time ever-just because.  We ordered a fruit and cheese platter.  I expected it to promote  the same excitement Julia Roberts felt on her first upscale shopping excursion in Pretty Woman, but it felt disappointingly normal.

For dinner we were craving Italian, so I did some research that led us to:

Kauai pasta: great hometown Italian feel to it, great service.  We had a bottle of Mobius 2007 cabernet that they only made 500 bottles of-it set the mood.  It was smooth, oaky, and delicious.  Chris had fettucini pesto with grilled chicken, I had chicken parm.  His dish trumped mine, but both were great considering we were once again ordering Italian in Hawaii.  The bananas and apples foster for dessert was phenomenal.

Sunday morning we woke up at 7am with intentions of hiking the Na Pali coast fairly early.  We drove to Hanalei, the second to last drivable town before the hike begins.  We wanted to go to a breakfast place Gretch had gone to, but it was closed when we got there.  We went across the street to Kalypso.  After being seated following a ten minute wait we realized why service was so slow-with the 6 hr time difference, Sunday night football is Sunday morning football in Hawaii.  Everyone was already drinking and cheering.  The food here was pretty good but the service was slow, so our hike started a little later than expected.  Once we finally got out of there we drove to the trailhead, parked, and began our little adventure.  We did the first 2 miles of the 11 mile Kalalau trail.  After the first 2 miles you can either hike 2 miles to an inland waterfall or get a permit to hike the remainder of the coastal trail.  We opted to do neither since the 2 miles took just under 2 hours to the Hanapai’ai beach, and Chris’s knee was bothering him ever since the cliff jumping in Maui.  The hike was gorgeous and only mildly challenging-like Cinque terre in Italy.  Chris entertained himself by climbing guava trees along the way, and we snacked on probably half a dozen a piece (only after noting several other hikers eating them and surviving).

On the way back we stopped at a surf shop that advertised water skiing and booked a time for the following day.  There was a Mexican place next door called:

-Monicos Taqueria:  Really good, authentic Mexican food, large portions.  First round of chips and salsa is on them.  I ate myself into a serious food coma.  It was sort of expensive for lunch-$39 out the door with 2 beers, a burrito and an enchilada plate.

We headed back to the hotel, snorkeled and swam in the ocean a bit, watched the sunset, finished our bottle of wine, and took in our last night in Hawaii.

Monday morning we went water skiing at 10:30–it was so. much. fun.  There aren’t snakes or creepy things in Hawaii, and the river was narrow and clean with mountainous views on one side and a rainforest-like feel on the other.  Our driver, Kenny, was really chilled out and gave us each a good run.  We rented half an hour for $70.  One run is 10 minutes; Chris attempted a full second run, but was exhausted half way through.  It was such a welcomed surprise to get one last run in for this year—we thought the season had ended long ago.

We took a red-eye home that night from Kauai to L.A., L.A. to Boston.  We were up the entire time due to our unfortunate seats next to the only passenger who kept her reading light on throughout the night, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise.  We didn’t sleep until 9PM our time that night, and it re-set our clocks since we’d been up more than 24 hours.  We slept 12 hours that night and woke up relatively refreshed afterwards.

Hawaii was a real-world paradise, and I can’t wait to go back.  I’ve never craved going to the “must sees” like Hawaii, Vegas, New Orleans….at least they haven’t topped my list.  This place really is a “must see” though, and I can’t say enough about how perfect our trip was.  It was the most one-on-one time Chris and I have had since we met, and we came back getting along better than ever.  A perfect start to this thing called marriage.

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