Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tricky Combinations.

Holy blogging hiatus.

I’m not sure what to blame it on other than I’ve been working a lot lately and we’ve just been incredibly busy with things too boring for public knowledge.  Most of these boring things revolve around being newly married i.e. joint taxes, joint savings etc.  Our lives have been changing a lot in the last couple of months and depending on the day I’m either incredibly grateful and excited about it or a little bit scared and nervous.  Marriage is pretty amazing but be warned that it will absolutely catapult you into lots of little changes – ready or not.  Luckily I’m a believer that change is usually good…but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

In a new marriage the ‘combining’ of two lives can be tricky and a little uncomfortable here and there.  I like to think that the uncomfortableness means we’re doing something right.  It means we’re putting everything out there and dealing with it rather than ignoring the tough stuff and keeping to our more comfortable and separate ways.  Thankfully it’s not all been tough stuff.  As a matter of fact some of it’s been pretty fun.

One of the more fun and exciting changes keeping us busy lately that will eventually become worthy of public viewing has been the purchase of new bedroom furniture.  ‘Grown up’ furniture as I’ve been calling it.  Remember this?  Well the embarrassment FINALLY took it’s toll and we snapped into action.  This past weekend Room & Board delivered our beautiful new bed, dresser and side table to compliment our new mattress and bedding.  The room is still completely empty aside from those three pieces but it’s already such a transformation.  I’m working on choosing some art, another (hopefully antique-esque) side table and adding the finishing touches.  Photos will come at that time.

You might be thinking: “Ali, let’s be real.  Two lovely young men from the furniture store delivered, hauled up and assembled your furniture for you.  How exactly does this make you busy?”

Fair question.  I’ll explain in a long winded rant.

The delivery of the large dresser has created a lot of flexibility in terms of storage.  Jon and I live in a condo in the city, and while fairly spacious for two people, storage is hard to come by.  Our guest bedroom has up to this point served as my closet with everything getting shoved into random spaces when people stay with us.  When people are here, I have to get ‘my stuff’ out of ‘their room’ every morning and I always feel like i’m intruding.  Plus there’s really no place for them to put their things since I’m occupying the closet and dresser for myself.  So rude, right?

What I’ve been trying to accomplish is the combining of Jon’s and my things into one room, one closet, and one bathroom.  This in turn will open the second room, closet and bathroom for our guests to enjoy..with no interruptions.  Along with being my closet, the guest room has also housed random pieces of furniture that we have no other space for like a chest from Jon’s childhood, an old target bought dresser, and a ‘from college free if you want to come get it’ papasan chair.  This room has been almost as big of a disaster as our room was.  Almost.  I’ve been working on rectifying that situation since Saturday and was totally unprepared for what an undertaking it’s turned out to be.

It actually felt like a mathematical equation that took a bit of time to figure out.  There has been a lot of frustration, starting over and extreme organization.  It’s taken some letting go of things, routines, and ‘the way things were’ by both of us.  It’s also been comical at times, particularly early in the morning when Jon is wandering around in just his socks and underwear complaining that he ‘can’t find anything in here’.

As of this morning, all of our things have successfully been combined into our room, our closet, and our bathroom.  I’ve labeled drawers with post it notes until we adjust.  It’ll be interesting to see how long the meticulous organization lasts (thank goodness for the container store) but for now it feels and looks pretty good.  We’ve created a new system that we share equally, which in turn will create a better space for our many guests.

It’s been cathartic to see the light at the end of the tunnel in setting up and combining our rooms in our home like this.  Granted we’ve still got a little ways to go, but progress has definitely been made.  It helped tremendously that Jon put all his trust in me and let me do my thing.  He knows that I’m better at things like this than he is and not only does he support me doing it on my own, but he’s relieved that I can.  It’s been a surprisingly good lesson for me.  To give up some of the control in areas that you aren’t very good at, let the other person flourish at the things they’re better at, and then enjoy the benefits together.

Jon and I have always been very different…held different things at different levels of importance.  I’ve always thought that was what made us work.  I was telling my friend Ashley the other day that sometimes he annoys the shit outta me with his nonsense and then the next minute, when I pull the stick out of my ass, I find myself curled up in non stop laughter with my best friend.  We challenge each other, make each other laugh like nobody else can (except maybe Ashley) and truly respect and love each other.  At the end of the day I would always bet on us.

Who knew that redecorating a bedroom would have such enlightening effects on me?  It’s shown me that even though it can be frustrating and confusing, combining lives…changing to accommodate the other person…even if it feels scary at times, can work, can make life better, and in the end can be 100% rewarding.

Hey It’s Your Birthday…

Happy Birthday Liz – You are such a bright spot in my life.

Can’t WAIT to see you’re beautiful face in a week!

Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there.
Judith Viorst

Hawaii Part 4 – Kauai!

Welcome to the Kauai portion of the program.  Please do not be alarmed by excess amounts of beauty, skyline, ocean, and spoiled rottenness.

See?  It’s SO lush and green here it borderlines on too much.  I’ve never been so close to sensory overload in my life.  We were really excited to see Kauai and spent a lot of time trying to decide which part of the island to stay at.  The decision was basically North shore vs. South shore and North won for many reasons, mainly because we wanted a change of scenery from just beaches.  We had a hankering for some jurassic park style greenery and boy did we get it.

Well.  THAT greeted us not 15 minutes after we stepped off the plane.  To put this into perspective, that my friends is higher than Niagara Falls.  

Alright fine.  We’ll stay out of your dangerous waterfall and instead proceed North to our cushy hotel.  We decided (on occasion of the delayed honeymoon) to spoil ourselves and Jon surprised me with a stay at the St. Regis Princeville.  The whole drive up from the airport we told ourselves that the hotel couldn’t possibly be that nice, we’ll probably be disappointed, let’s manage our expectations and anticipate it being pretty average.

Ahhhhh what a bunch of dummy’s.  AFTER we got through the winding road lined in flowers and beautiful tree’s, past the gorgeous homes, multiple fountains, and pristinely managed golf courses.  After Jon told me to stop gaping out the window with my mouth open because I was embarrassing him…we were shown to our room.  To say our expectations were exceeded is a bit of an understatement.

It’s basically a hotel made out of windows with absolutely breathtaking views of the Napali coast everywhere you look.  It was spectacular. 

Welcome Mr. and Mrs.  Hendrickson, we have upgraded your room on occasion of your honeymoon, please allow me to hang your lei’s and open this complimentary bottle of champagne while you enjoy the view.

You should have seen us trying to keep our cool until he left.  At which point we started dancing and squealing and jumping on the bed.  And by we I most certainly mean me.  Just me.

There was a flipping lei hook in the room for goodness sake.

The amount of times we said “are you kidding me” on this leg of the vacation is pretty high.  I mean – look at that photo?!  It looks fake!  This was the view…from our room…it’s essentially a living postcard.

Nothing was overly showy.  It was all in the details at the St. Regis combined with the most world class service I’ve ever seen.  Really fun to experience.  All that and we haven’t even stepped outside yet!We got in the pool, turned to each other and said ‘weird…it’s the most perfect water temperature of all time’.

Then turned around and said ‘weird…it’s the most beautiful pool view ever’.

Saw these guys and declared “weird…that’s the coolest boat I’ve ever seen”.

You get my point.  Everything was amazing.

We took a seat under some cabana’s to gather our thoughts and be brought delicious cocktails by a very friendly waiter.  You’ll notice the difference in lighting in a lot of these pictures and that’s because it goes from cloudy to bright sun to sprinkling and back all in 15 minutes.

The waiter brought us our drinks, pushed a magic St. Regis button and just as we took our first sip, after thinking we had soaked it all in…this happened:ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!  I stood up and said ‘I can’t take anymore, I need to go to the room and lie down to process this’.  I opened the door to our room and the bed had been turned….down….for….me.  At this point I decided to pretend to be the queen of england for the remainder of the trip and not be surprised by anything.  Even if they offered to chew my food for me.  Let’s move on.  Stunning.  Not me…the view.  I’m obstructing the view!  How dare I tarnish such a spectacular sight.Jon enjoying his ‘crown and pog’ (his favorite).  We brought along some of our own drinks because along with tipping every person that even looks at you, you also have to deal with things like this:Oh hey!  $16 for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s brought to the room + tip?  That’s not so bad.  Wait what?  You’re telling me that’s for 2 ounces in a glass?  Ummmm…go to hell.

Jon told me to settle down and informed me that we’re spoiling ourselves while in Kauai.  So we enjoyed our hotel, swam in the pool, drank lots of drinks and ordered the most ridiculous sushi dinner from room service.  I would like to be able to adequately express how delicious this food was…but I can’t.  I just can’t with the food.

After enjoying being spoiled for two days we decided to FORCE ourselves to leave the hotel and go on a hike.  Thank the gods we did because it was…you guessed it…ridiculous.

On our way to the take off spot for the hike I forced Jon to pull over because I missed the hotel too much and I thought I was going to have a panic attack.  “WHO’S GOING TO OPEN ALL THE DOORS FOR ME? WHAT IF I NEED SOME ICE? WHERE WILL I HANG MY LEI? WHO WILL FAN ME WITH A FERN?!?!” Jon slapped me in the face and luckily we found a glimpse so I could get my fix.

Bye hotel….see you soon my love….

Then I opened my eyes and looked around and remembered we’re in absolute paradise.

From here we drove to the trailhead for our hike.  I’m going to TRY and let the pictures speak for themselves.

It’s amazing to me that more people don’t meet their deaths on these beautiful hikes simply from looking around.  The terrain was rocky and wet, not to mention one wrong step and you’re tumbling down hundreds of feet into the rocky ocean.  There is so much to see that you have to stop every time you want to look around or else you’ll definitely trip and be dead.  Here lies the destination of our hike:

Sweaty and muddy as hell.  It was intense.

After our hike we rushed back to the hotel to get changed for our ‘every book says you should, you can not miss it, you must do this while in kauai or you’re a moron‘ helicopter tour.  This is when things started to unravel.

We arrive at the helipad only to find that our helicopter tour was cancelled due to predicted rain that afternoon.  We knew this was a possibility.  The center of the island is the rainiest place on earth.  Literally.  That’s a fact.  Google it.  So we weren’t exactly surprised and made plans to reschedule.  Well it did rain that afternoon.  The thing is, it never stopped.  It did not flipping stop for the rest of the trip.  We made due the first 24 hours.  We actually sat outside in the hot tub with an umbrella determined not to let this ruin our trip.

Turns out the helicopter tour could not be rescheduled.  “That’s ok” I said, “we’ll go on the boat tour instead!”  Nope.  Cancelled.  “That’s ok” I said, “hopefully Jon will still get to golf at the brand new world renowned princeville golf course”.  Nope.  Cancelled.  Very sad husband.

It was tough to take.  In my mind that just means we have to go back! : )

To numb our pain…we ate.  We ate THE MOST incredible brunch that exists on the planet.  I’m convinced.  It was a whopping $60 a person (not including drinks) and after seeing the spread we did not bat an eye at the price.  It maybe should have been more.  I took a few photo’s but didn’t want to be super embarrassing.  Turns out I was anyways because I didn’t stop eating for like 6 hours.  These in no way fully explain what the hell was happening at that brunch, but I’ll throw em up anyway.

Meet Aloha Mary.  She was delicious.Let’s asses.  Waldorf Salad, duck gnocchi, fresh ahi with avocado, fried rice, incredible fruit, honey glazed halibut, crispy bacon, and parmesan and prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  Shut. Up.  My mouth is watering again.  These items are approximately 1/100th of what was there.  No lie.  It was impossible to try everything, but try I did.

Not only was everything world class, fresh, and indescribably delicious…but it was all beautiful as well.  Brunch will never be the same again.  Nay.  Food in general might not ever be the same again.

Don’t make me talk about the desert table.  I just don’t have it in me.

Meanwhile, THIS was happening while we were enjoying our delicious brunch on a covered patio. It may not look in on the computer, but those waves are ENORMOUS.  The storm had arrived.  Let me try to get this through to you.  These were monsoon conditions the likes of which the island hadn’t seen in 30 years.  On our vacation.  : (

It was raining two to three inches per hour for over 48 hours.  People were stranded.   Stranded at the St. Regis but STILL.  We barely made it to the airport and if our flight would have left several hours later we might still be in Kauai.  Don’t believe me?

Those are pickups.  And not the worst of it.  It was an adventure, but we were glad to finally take off after 48 indoors.

At first it felt like two days of our vacation/honeymoon were a waste.  That’s just not the case.  Looking back over all the photos and experiences has truly shown me how lucky we were to be able to do ANY of it.  It’s been really fun to share our trip and (for those that haven’t) I hope you all get a chance to experience Hawaii someday.   It’s so beautiful and everything the books tell you it is.  I just wouldn’t recommend visiting Kauai during peak rainy season, unless you hate the outdoors and sunshine.

This FINALLY concludes the Hawaii recaps.  Thanks for reading and for all of you that have already said such nice things about the photo’s – to me, to Jon, on Facebook or wherever – thank you so very, very much.