Friday, December 2, 2016

5 On Friday

OH HELLO WEEKEND & DECEMBER! There you are, you sneaky bastard. 

Is it me or did this week drag on forever? Maybe it's because I've been living in a sea of whiny dogs and moving boxes, but that is neither here nor there because I CAN SEE THE LIGHT. Oh sweet glorious light. 

Let's jump right in to my week, shall we?

1. This rain in Hawaii, it's killing me. I understand we need it and it's definitely making everything much greener (and prettier)...but I'm done. It's gotten to the point where every yard/sidewalk/field is muddy, the dogs require getting towel dried every time they come inside and don't even get me started on what havoc it has wreaked on my running schedule. Is it too much to ask to get a sunny weekend?!
Lots of rain = lots of rainbows! #silverlining
2. And speaking of running...THE HONOLULU MARATHON IS IN TEN DAYS. Agh. It makes me excited and nervous and scared all at once. I've been training for this since May and while I might be slower than a turtle in honey - I'm freaking doing it. I feel really proud of myself for setting the bar so high and actually going through with it and not backing out or admitting defeat when shit really got bad (like right now when I have bursitis and IT band issues). So long as I cross that finish line I don't care if it takes me 5 hours or 5 days. HECK YEAH!

3. We officially bought a house this week. Holy crap. Maybe that should have been #1, but it also doesn't really feel real yet. I'm sure when the movers show up and are hauling things away it will really sink in. We are OVER THE MOON. I can't express enough how happy we are with our place and how much happier we are to be moving out of our current nightmare of a situation. Black mold, you did not have me at hello. And if I'm being totally honest - I really just want to bust out all my Christmas decor and stop living out of boxes for the first time SINCE JULY. Gulp.

4. When I was visiting Sarah for her baby shower/surprise baby delivery, she gifted me with the most amazing hand cream. Dubbed Hand Food by Soap & Glory -- I CAN'T GET ENOUGH! It smells delicious and my hands and cuticles look better than they ever have. It's a nice small sized bottle so it's great for in my nightstand and I put about a dime sized amount on before bed. So far, I love it. The problem? I can't find it anywhere! Help, oh beauty maven goddesses out there!

5. On Sunday we are celebrating Dane's work Christmas party at Disney's Aulani. I can shamelessly say that anytime someone pays for us to go to a $60 brunch buffet for free, I'm SO THERE. Needless to say, I'll be hamming it up with Mickey himself and eating as many Mouse-shaped waffles as a I can respectably shove in my mouth without being that person.

How was your week? What are your weekend plans?

Linking up for Five on Friday

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Five Favorite Places To Snorkel On Maui

When I did my reader survey, so many of you requested more Hawaii-style posts, so your wish -- my command! Dane and I have been lucky enough to visit all the Hawaiian Islands that are accessible, so I figured it was high time to put together as many helpful posts as possible for those planning a trip. 

My final post in the island snorkeling series is here! I'm sharing the best places to snorkel on Maui. Don't worry, they are all Kait tested and approved ;)  

Nicknamed The Valley Isle, Maui is the second largest island in the chain of Hawaiian Islands. Measuring 727.2 square miles, Maui is home to the famed Haleakalā volcano, which rises more than 10,000 feet above sea level, as well as the seaside town of Lahaina, where humpback whales are known to migrate in the winter months.
My Five Favorite Places To Snorkel On Maui

Molokini Crater
A snorkeling trip to Maui would not be complete without jumping in the waters off Molokini Crater. The crescent shape isle 2.5 miles off Maui’s south shore is surrounded by lush reef and a plethora of local fish — think parrotfish and butterflyfish — but the occasional eel and reef shark have been spotted. Head out to the crater in a small tour boat early in the morning to get the best visibility. Don’t forget to pack your fins — waters off the shoreline get up to 50 feet.

Turtle Town
Also located along Maui’s south shore is the lush snorkeling spot between Nahuna Point and Black Sand Beach, known by many as Turtle Town. If catching a glimpse of Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtle is at the top of your list, you don’t want to miss this spot. Because Turtle Town (Maluaka Beach) is protected by Haleakalā from winds, the waters remain relatively calm and create the perfect spot for those who are new to snorkeling. A sloped reef creates an adventure for any depth of water you are comfortable swimming in, around 30 feet at the deepest point.
My Five Favorite Places To Snorkel On Maui

Coral Gardens
Traveling up the coast toward the west side of Maui, you will stumble upon Coral Gardens. Home to a large number of local fish and intricate coral reef formations, Coral Gardens is located in a protected ocean bay, where octopi and trigger fish like to hang out. Like Turtle Town, the waters at Coral Gardens are protected making them smooth, but take caution — the swim from the shore to the best snorkeling spots is rigorous. If you are a weak swimmer, consider taking advantage of Coral Gardens by boat, or checking out another spot on Maui.

Kapalua Bay
On the north west side of Maui sits the white sand beach of Kapalua Bay, a protected cove and ideal snorkeling location. If you’re looking at the cove, walk to the far right rock jetty and enter the water there. Be on the lookout for butterfly fish, porcupine fish and the state fish of Hawaii, Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Be advised that although this is a beach and naturally protected cove, there is no lifeguard on duty.
My Five Favorite Places To Snorkel On Maui

Honolua Bay
Sheltered by high rock cliffs on both sides, Honolua Bay is a pristine natural masterpiece. Because the bay is off-limits for fishing, a bevy of sea life awaits once you get in the water. 20 feet at the deepest point, Honolua is home to damsel fish, snapper and multitudes of invertebrates. Snorkelers have even spotted large jacks and barracuda, so keep your eyes open! If you plan to visit Honolua, check the surf report first; the Bay is home to one of the fiercest surf breaks on island.

Have you traveled to Maui?
My Five Favorite Places To Snorkel On Maui

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

5 Vegetarian Crock Pot Recipes To Try

One of the best parts of the weather turning cool-ish (I know some of you reading this may be in cooler temps than I am!), is that I get to break out my crock pot. There is nothing I love more than being able to set it and forget it. I'm serious - 5PM rolls around I don't even have to think about dinner.

Sure there are 100 crock pot ideas for chicken something-or-other or some kind of slow roasting meat (those aren't bad!), but what about the veggie lovers? Today's post is for you! All of these recipes are vegetarian friendly and if you want to add a little meat protein, that would be yummy, too!

So, let's get down to business.

1. Spaghetti Squash. Slice it in half and roast that baby for 8 hours in your crock pot (skin on!). When it's done, all you need to do is scrape out the insides and toss in your favorite sauce. I love pesto and red sauce, but I recently saw a recipe for tossing it in buffalo sauce and adding in some blue cheese crumbles!

2. Black Bean Pumpkin Chili. This chili recipe has been on repeat at my house for quite some time. I am physically incapable of following a recipe to the letter, so I add in whatever beans I have on hand (except garbanzo...) and puree the crushed tomatoes with my immersion blender before adding them in. I promise, you won't be disappointed here!
Source | Mine never looks this pretty, I promise!

3. Butternut Squash Soup With Maple Roasted Chickpeas. Okay, I have a confession: I made this last week and it was a total fail. Why? Because I realized I had no chickpeas and thought "Oh well, it should be fine". There's a reason there are chickpeas as part of this recipe, people! So, I'm giving it another go this week, because the buttery soup is too good to just file away and forget! I think this would also be delicious with leftover shreds of rotisserie chicken.
4. Spaghetti and Veggies. Have you ever seen those "One Pot Meals" books? I'm always so drawn to them, mostly because I hate doing dishes. Anyway, this recipe is a twist on one of those. All you need is a box of angel hair pasta, sauce of your choosing and lots of veggies. Start with your crock pot on high and add in all the veggies you want to use. I chop up a pepper, an onion, some zucchini, squash and eggplant (if I have it). Then add in 2 cups of water, 2 cups of sauce and some garlic and set the timer for 70 minutes. At the 70 minute mark, add in your pasta and let it cook for an additional 20-30 minutes. Stir it all up and serve. Dang, it's so good!

5. Oatmeal. OF ANY KIND! You know me - I love any excuse to get creative. When we were on the mainland visiting my parents this summer, my mom was showing me all these different ways to make oatmeal -- stove-top, mason jars overnight, crock see where this is going. Oatmeal is a staple in my diet and when I don't have it, bad things occur in my digestive tract. Anyway. To make oatmeal in the crock pot, all you need are steel cut oats and coconut milk. The real fun comes in when you want to make flavors. But! For just the basic recipe, remember the .5:1.5 ratio. For every half cup of oats, use 1.5 cups coconut milk. That's it! Put them in your crock pot and cook overnight on low for 8 hours so you wake up ready to dive right in! Now, I will say that making them plain is not exciting. At all. I like mixing in nuts, coconut, pumpkin and cinnamon. If I have made it plain, I like adding fruit in the morning and sometimes brown sugar if I'm treating myself. 

What are your go-to crock pot meals? I'm always up for any new suggestions (meat or no meat) to try!

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