So…we’re going to Kauai…what should we do?

April 18, 2014

We always have people asking us about Kauai and the things that they should do there. So we figured to add a blog post about what our favorite things about the small garden isle that we love! What we love the most about being in Kauai is how laid back the vibe is there – it really suits well with our personalities and we love that its a place for us to just get away when we need some peace and quiet. Piecing this post left us in a place of wanderlust and we are feigning to return to the island soon. Here are a few of our favorites when we visit. We are going to list this geographically so anyone can use this post as their guide as they trek through. We’re no experts in the island and we know that there is much more to see! Do you have a favorite spot on the island that we didn’t mention or that we must check out? Leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to add that to our list for a future visit!

If you venture off to the north – Princeville + Hanalei areas:

Kīlauea Lighthouse Hike the Kalalau Trail to see the NaPali coastline. This trail is the only way to get land access to the NaPali coast line. Start at Ke’e Beach which is at the end of Kuhio Hwy and where all the gorgeous banyan trees are at. Before you head to the end of Kuhio Hwy, make sure you stop at Háena Beach. There are some dry and wet caves and you’ll also find a man who sells fresh coconuts daily.   We hiked at least a mile in to peek into the majestic coastline by foot. And we’ve been lucky to see it by sea during another visit…   On your drive back from Ke’e Beach, you can always stop at various vista points. This one in particular is overlooking the Hanalei Valley.

If you venture to the Eastside – Lihue, Kapa’a, Anahola (Warning, most of these are FOOD places. I guess there were lots of ono kine grinds (delicious foods) on the eastside. 

One of the best food finds that we encountered was at the Kauai Wild Board & Fruit Stand in Anahola. The stand is located right off of Kuhio Hwy & Hokualele Road. They are only open Friday-Sunday so plan accordingly! It was raining a lot so we were only able to capture this with our mobile phone. The wild boar and fresh huli chicken was delicious along with the sides! Make sure you get the huli huli sauce too!  Right across the street from the stand was a person who was selling fresh baked mango bread. Couldn’t help but to buy one…support small business! :)   Another one of our favorite spots to grind (eat in Pidgin) is at Kountry Kitchen. They serve awesome macadamia nut pancakes and we also LOVED the fried rice omelette. Another favorite spot for the locals and kamaaina’s is Hamura’s Saimin Stand in Lihue. There is a very local kine of vibe going on here and the seating is communal. You definitely get to hang out with the locals here. This is what we usually order: the Saimin Special and the Likikoi (passion fruit) chiffon pie. THE BEST! After you eat everything mentioned above, you can also make a pit stop to Wailua Falls near by. It’s probably one of the easiest waterfalls to access without having to hike.  Parking is fairly easy and you’ll see and hear the falls as soon as you get out of your car.

If you venture to the Westside – Waimea, ‘Ele’ele, Hanapepe 

‘Ele’ele is the hub where all the boat charter tours dock from. The one we used to visit the NaPali coast line was through Holo Holo Charters.  We recommend doing the NaPali tours before the high tides in the North (November-December). The first time we tried to see the coast, the swells were quite high (up to 12 feet) and it only got worse as we approached NaPali. Luckily during our last visit in May, we made it! Photos below are from both tours.

The Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

Tracy and the Menehune Ditch and Tunnel. The Menehune Ditch is an aqueduct of cut and dressed stones that was once used to bring irrigation water from the Waimea River to the taro fields. It was next to the swinging bridge, so she decided to pose next to it.

Before heading up to Waimea Canyon, make sure you stop over at Ishihara Market for some pupus (appetizers). They have the BEST poke we’ve ever had and crave it all the time. Typically, we plan on eating the poke at our next destination, but we could never wait. Luckily, the market has some picnic tables right outside!

Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of Hawaii

If you venture to the Southside – Poipu, Koloa

Although we ate a ton on the eastside, we love staying in the southside of the island. The sun shines there the most and the beaches are amazing. It really gave us the best of both worlds so we can drive towards the eastside for some good food and get our poke eating on the westside. :)  So all we really did on the southside is just relax…..

Tunnel of Trees – before heading into Koloa town, you MUST drive through here. It’s just beautiful. So beautiful, that we even dodged traffic to do a quick shoot there for one of our couples.

Sprouting Horn Blowhole in Poipu

And depending on the time of year you visit, you may catch some great waves down south. These were taken in May.

As we said, we just love the southside because of its beaches and the beautiful sunsets. Here are a few from our stay in Poipu Beach. If you’ve made it this far to our post, thanks for reading and viewing our pics! Enjoy your stay in Kauai and definitely let us know if you have any questions or want tips!

Pasadena City Hall Engagement Session | Liz + Ryan

April 17, 2014

2014 marks the year filled with weddings for our family. We’ve got another cousin getting hitched later this year and we couldn’t be any more excited for Tracy’s cousin Ryan and his new fiancé, Liz. For their session at the Pasadena City Hall, they wanted to include Liz’s adorable kids in the session and it turned out to be a fun afternoon.  We look forward to their big day later this November and share more of the festivities then!

Tania’s Bachelorette Shower Party

April 15, 2014

Post by Tracy:

Since last December, not only did I have the privilege to photograph gorgeous weddings, I now have the honor to be my little sister’s Matron of Honor. Tania and her fiancé Kevin are finally tying the knot this June! Being in the wedding industry, I’ve happily become the “go-to” person for my sister for all her vendor needs and wedding advice. Being the big sister that I am, I don’t mind letting them know what looks good for photos and adding input to what details her bouquet should have for the big day. I guess I’ve defaulted to become the wedding planner and I definitely don’t mind. Anything for her! :)

Last weekend, I threw my sister her bachelorette shower (bachelorette party + bridal shower) in Orange County. We started our day at TSpoons Cooking School in San Juan Capistrano.  I had Tania pick out our lunch menu (items listed below in the first photo) and it was DELISH! Aside from group cooking classes, TSpoons offers other courses and even ones specifically for date night! 

After our lunch, I along with our cousins rushed over to the Island Hotel in Newport Beach to set up for the rest of the day. I knew exactly what my sister had envisioned for herself and I wanted to semi-match it with the theme of her wedding. Since Tania’s wedding theme involved lace and doilies, I included those in her bachelorette invitations and signage. Planning this day out allowed me to get crafty once again (its a bit of a stress reliever for me) and I ended up making the wine glass tumbler cups for the ladies, lavender body scrub, streamers, and the signage as I mentioned. Bride was definitely excited to see it all come together!

 

Nope, I didn’t nail or tack anything to the walls. :) I am the biggest fan of 3M Command Decorating Clips!

 

Once the ladies arrived from their afternoon of shopping at Fashion Island, we enjoyed a few cocktails in the suite and got ready for our dinner at Lark Creek restaurant. I reserved one of their private event rooms which worked out for our group. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pics of the food since I got preoccupied having fun with the girls. But I did end up making a last minute slideshow and included a few of the girls who couldn’t come out to celebrate, which ended up being a nice surprise for Tania. For the rest of the evening, we headed back to our suite, enjoyed more cocktails and played some shower games with the bride-to-be! Thanks for the great time ladies and I look forward to seeing everyone at the wedding in June!!

 

 

Sienna’s Senior Portait Session | Pasadena, CA

March 28, 2014

Sock Monkey Themed Birthday Party | Mateo’s First Birthday {Fullerton, CA}

March 27, 2014

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