Poke, Pareos and Poi; Maui Nō Ka ʻOi

… jk about poi tho.

I sometimes forget this was intended to be a travel/adventure blog since it turned into a bit of a cancer journal. Well, I finally have a trip to report on and have been putting it off, mostly because I’ve felt like crap lately. Let’s dive in…   

As soon as I got vaccinated and received doctor’s approval to travel, I hopped on a plane to Maui. I had the whole row to myself which felt a bit like winning the lottery. After hugging my sis and nephews, I immediately went to Tamura’s for a poke bowl and then hopped in the ocean. Priorities. 

I stayed at the Royal Lahaina since my parent’s house is being rented, which was sweet because it felt more like a relaxing vacation. I read a lot of books, laid in the sun, swam in the ocean, and adventured as much as my body allowed. I hopped over to Oahu for a few days to see one of my college roommates and eat Hula Pie.

Two of my girlfriends flew in for a couple days and I got to show them some of my favorite secret spots on the island. We watched an epic sunset from a catamaran, walked through a magical forest, spent the day in my favorite waterfall, ate more poke and watched lots of Friends

One of the main reasons we flew out to Maui was to celebrate my nephew’s 10th birthday. First his big brother surprised him, then I flew in a few days later and then my parents flew in a couple days after that. After the year we all just had, it was so lovely to just be together as a family. We ate pizza, swam, and spoiled the birthday boy with alllll the Legos. 

The island seems like it’s not ready for tourists quite yet, or at least it wasn’t when I was there. Restaurant reservations are all booked up, rental cars were going for as much as $900/day and people were renting U-Hauls, places ran out of food, and they’re not able to let guests in full capacity until more locals get vaccinated. So just do your research before you book a trip and don’t expect as much aloha as you may have experienced pre-pandemic. 

I actually felt like crap the first bit of my trip because I was on my monthly steroids but I truly believe the Hawaiian waters are healing. 

There were several situations where I was like I’m not sure I’ll be able to do something but I’m still going to try, and I surprised myself with what I was able to do.  I had to take a tiny plane to and from Oahu and wasn’t sure I’d be able to get up the sketchy ladder stairs by myself, but I just went for it and was totally fine. 

I was also worried about getting in and out of my favorite waterfall but that sure didn’t keep me from trying. I wouldn’t have been able to on my own so thank God for good friends. If that isn’t a metaphor for life, then idk what is. 

Hawaii is pure magic. 

This was a perfect first trip post pandemic/cancer diagnosis. I could adventure a little and relax a lot. I can’t wait until I’m able to travel like I used to but for now Hawaii will do.

Also, my freckles are back. 🙂

alooooha

Books I Read on Vacay

I just went on vacation to Hawaii and I brought 3 books with me. I was reading a book before my trip that I couldn’t get in to so I ditched it and bought fun summer books that are easy to read.

First I read Beach Read by Emily Henry. It was super easy to get in to and so sweet. It made me want to fall in love again and also made me want to write a book someday. Maybe I’ll comprise some of my blog posts later, who knows. I highly recommend, especially if you’re going on vacation and need a good book to lay by the pool with.

Next up I read a Reese’s Book Club rec, Northern Spy by Flynn Berry. I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. It has similar vibes to Conviction (also from Reese’s Book Club) which I read recently and loved too.

Lastly I read People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, the author of the fist book I mentioned. I couldn’t help but think about one of my best friends while I read this book EXCEPT NOT in a romantic way. Just that we’ve been friends for so long (since we were 4) and how we’ve traveled the world together (his mother is a flight attendant) and he would join me on vacations often. It was sweet to reminisce but hard to focus (I had to reread several pages).

I finished this book at home and I probably would have read through it faster if I had a beautiful beach or pool to read it by.. I thought it was ok but wasn’t as invested in the story as much as I was with Beach Read. Still a good vacation book though.

Honorary Mention: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, another Reese’s rec. I actually read this one a while back BUT I got to be a guest at a book club for a day to discuss this book. I met one of my college friend’s on Oahu for the weekend who was traveling with some of her friends from San Francisco. They are all in a book club together and luckily I had read the book they were discussing. I actually just gave this book to my BFF to read because I knew she would like it. She texted me one morning saying she woke up in the middle of the night to finish the book. It reads like a Rolling Stone interview and is roughtly based on Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. They’re making it into a show and I can’t wait to watch.

Wish every book club looked like this

BFF had about a week before she popped out another baby so I Amazoned (lol is that a word?) her Malibu Rising, by the same author of Daisy Jones since she loved it so much and I wanted her to be able to relax and put her feet up before bb came. She loved it and read it in days. Now it’s my turn to read.

She also ordered the first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid called The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I can’t wait to read because I’ve seen several TikToks about how it’s their favorite book.

I actually have SO many books in the line up right now waiting to be read but I always love to hear recs so send them my way!

Palm Trees with My Main Squeeze

Not too long ago I had to teach myself how to walk again after spending a month in a hospital bed. It’s been a long road to recovery and I still am unable to walk properly but I get stronger every day. So when I “hiked” down and up this small canyon I was elated.

Caroline (one of my bffs from childhood) and I rocked up to the Palm Canyon in cute outfits and the ranger in the parking lot asked if we had water and how far we were planning on hiking and I said just to the bottom of the hill for photos in the palm trees (duh) and he said “yea I figured” and glanced over at Caroline’s dress. We obviously were not dressed in hiking gear but we did not need your sass, sir.

Ranger cheekiness aside, this place was EPIC. We went first thing in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds. It was $9 a person to enter Indian Canyons but there are different canyons with several hiking/horseback riding trails and waterfalls. Palm Canyon is at the base of one of the trails so people who walk like wobbly toddlers (me) don’t have to hike much to get amazeballs pics like this:

Fresh Flower Field Frolics

I LOVE springtime. I also love that I’m feeling better these days. I had a couple days in bed feeling awful from my monthly steroids, but I talked to my doctor about it and we came up with a game plan to hopefully alleviate some of the horrible (and I mean horrible) side effects next month. Wish me luck. But besides that, I’m feeling great. 

I can finally leave my bubble (hallelujah) because my counts are coming up so my immune system is stronger and I got my second covid vaccine a couple weeks ago.

oh. heck. yes.

I’m making up for lost time and am adventuring as much as possible. I love springtime because I love flowers. I love the wildflowers on the side of the highway. I love the poppies that pop up along the sidewalks. I especially love flower fields. Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough rain this year for the poppy fields to bloom. Major bummer. But I found some other goodies this spring instead.

My bestie (and mini bestie) and I went to the Carlsbad Strawberry Fields because we found out they also have an epic sunflower maze. Alana also enjoyed the U-Pick strawberries. I sat this one out because I’m not as mobile as I’d like to be and had to rest for a bit. But Alana told me all about it with a red mouth from snacking on her self-picked produce. 

I had Post Malone’s Sunflower stuck in my head all day

The next weekend my parents and I visited the Carlsbad Flower Fields. It was so crowded it felt like Disneyland, but it was gorgeous. I hadn’t been in a couple years. You can’t walk through the rows anymore; they’re blocked off and there are designated photo taking areas. We brought lunch to have a picnic. We enjoyed the live band and the tractor ride tour.  

Me & Momma ❤

The weekend after that Amelia, Alana and I found a tiny flower field where you could walk through the rows of ranunculus in Bonsall. It was literally on the side of the road and you pay $5 for 10 stems you pick yourself. It was so cute! But v hot. And towards the end of the season so the flowers were pretty bleak, but we still enjoyed it. 

I’m buying a new sunhat asap
my 3 besties

Let me know if you have any other epic flower spots in Southern California.

My favorite artist, Claude Monet, said, “I must have flowers, always and always“.

Ditto.

Quarantine Memories: Vegas Neon Museum

Hi. Hello. And how do you do? Sorry just had a flashback to my cheerleading days. Yikes.

Mini cancer update: I had my last chemo of the intensive introduction year! Now I have a little bit of a break and then move to maintenance where I’ll only get chemo infusions once a month along with chemo pills (for two years- womp womp). But according to my doctor, I’ll start feeling better and back to normal soon. I did it y’all, I made it through the hard part!! Plus my doctor informed me that I’m in the next tier/phase (whatever it’s called) for vaccines so hopefully I’ll get that soon and will feel so much better and safe and I’ll be able to leave my bubble.

Until then, I’m still living off memories of adventures past.

A couple years ago Amelia and I went to Vegas to see Britney Spears in concert, which was like a religious experience. Truly everything I wanted it to be and more. Also, #FreeBritney! OMG I watched Framing Britney Spears, the NYT doc on Hulu this weekend and I can’t stop thinking about it. I have always loved Britney, I was a super fan back in the day – lol who am I kidding, I still am! I mean I had a Britney themed party for my 25th birthday. This doc breaks my heart. Go watch it right now so we can talk about it. (Is it Project Rose?!)

anywhooooooo…

While in town, we decided to hit up the Neon Museum, otherwise known as the Neon Boneyard. It also did not dissapoint. It’s where all the old neon signs from the strip go to die.

We went for the gram. Peep the pics:

She’s always buzzing just like neon, neon
desert vibes
#adventuresofameliaandkeili
because ducks are my favorite
supes groovy
aloha always
how gorge is my bestie??

#mature

I would totally go back, I’d love to book the nighttime tour. The admission was $20. They have guided tours or you can roam freely. They only let a limited number of people in at a time so I suggest booking ahead of time. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

k bye

You know what they say; what happens in Vegas… goes on Instagram.

Tata for now.

Quarantine Memories: Salvation Mountain

Sitting here getting chemo thinking about all the places I’d rather be.

Y’all already know it’s killing me to not be able to go on adventures. I’m making a list of places I want to go as soon as I get the ok from the doctor. Hurry up covid vaccine. Until then – everyone wear your masks. Please and thank you.

We went on this trip a couple years ago but I still feel like it’s worth sharing.

There’s this trippy painted mountain in the middle of the desert past Palm Springs. We decided to go during summer and it was well over 100 degrees. That meant we had the mountain almost to ourselves but we couldn’t last long in the heat. We were there long enough to snap some epic photos though. Take a look:

Salvation Mountain
On the mountain
In the mountain
Trying to survive the desert heat

After we hopped back into the air conditioned car we drove to the nearby neighborhood called “East Jesus” which was another strange sight. The only photos I took here have my ex boyfriend in them unfortunately except this one:

But it doesn’t do it justice so go look it up. We felt like we were in a weird Tim Burton movie and kind of like we might get murdered. So we skedaddled out of there pretty quickly and camped Joshua Tree. I’ll share some J Tree memories sometime soon.

TTFN

Quarantine Memories: Mt Rainier

I’m gonna switch it up and not write about cancer in this post because after all this blog is called Trips and Salsa. Here’s one of the trips I went on last year:

I was in Seattle for a dear friend’s wedding and decided to stay in town a few extra days to see family and friends. I also wanted to take a trip up to Mt Rainier since I couldn’t even remember the last time I was there, if ever.

I grew up in Seattle with a gorgeous view of all of downtown and both Mt Baker and Mt Rainier, so I saw it every day but moved away at 18 and I miss those gorgeous giants.

My friends Caroline and Jess were up for the adventure too! So off we went…

First stop was Grove of the Patriarchs. I wanted to see this bridge.

We you can only cross one person at a time.

It wasn’t much of a hike (1 mile) which was nice but was GORGEOUS and not like any hikes I could go on in Southern California.

Then we made our way through the park to Reflection Lake. What a beaut.

Then we made our way to the National Park Visitor Center where we watched a movie about the park and ate lunch. How could we not get Rainier Beers to drink on Mt Rainier?!

Then we hiked to Myrtle Falls. It was another easy stroll but a lovey trail. I felt like Julie Andrews because the hills were alive with the Sound of Music.

It was a fun day with two great friends. Glad I extended my trip to trek up the mountain I used to stare at daily. ❤

Quarantine Memories: Last Year’s Superbloom

Usually this time of the year, Amelia and I go chasing wildflowers. Due to our current situation with Coronavirus, our flower frolics are put on hold. As scary as things are at the moment, it’s also kind of nice to have down time to reset, take care of ourselves, reconnect with old friends and family, reflect on memories and set intentions for the rest of the year.

I can’t wait to go on adventures again but to tide ourselves over until we’re allowed to roam freely, here are some images from last year’s superbloom.

Lake Elsinore has rolling hills painted with poppies. I can’t help but say “poppies” in the Wicked Witch of the West’s voice.

Peep that adorable mini adventurer

Since I have all the time in the world now, I’m going to go through the archives and find some old adventures to share with ya’ll.

In all seriousness, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. And thank you to all the people who are risking their lives by going into work during this time. Your service is appreciated.

“Flowers bloom after rain falls”. We’re currently experiencing a massive rainstorm and can only hope for an epic superbloom after this.

Girls Weekend in Idyllwild

It was one of my girlfriends birthday’s and we wanted to get away for a few days so 8 girls piled into cars and drove a windy road up to Idyllwild, a little mountain town about 2 hours from San Diego and LA.

Our first stop was The Town Baker, an adorable café with a delicious breakfast burrito. I heard they have amazing pastries too. It was nice to sit out back in the sun while I waited for my carsickness to subside.

Our main activity for the trip was hiking to Suicide Rock. About 10 minutes in to the 7 mile hike I had a small kine panic attack. I think it was a combination of the carsickness, the altitude, the fact that I’m super out of shape and the cookie my friend fed me, but however I ended up feeling that way, it was horrible. But I wanted to keep going. It was a STRUGGLE. I felt horrible slowing everyone down. It was a rough climb, but we played fun games and swapped funny stories and slowly made it to the top.

It felt so good to reach the top. We popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate my friend’s birthday and took in the breathtaking views. And then ran down the mountain.

We all felt kind of dead afterwards but we checked into our Airbnb, ate a ton of chips and did hydrating face masks. We went to dinner at Ferro, an Italian restaurant in town. I didn’t take any photos because we were starving and enjoying our time together.

We ate breakfast at The Red Kettle in town the next morning and then walked around town. We wanted to meet Mayor Max, who is a golden retriever but he wasn’t going to be in town til the afternoon.  The town is so cute and I’d love to go back, when it’s not so cold and I’ll take some Dramamine for the ride up.

Beach Playlist – HAWAII

As the weather starts to cool down… for some of us (it’s 90 degrees today in San Diego), we often find ourselves daydreaming about warmer days. I created the perfect playlist to instantly bring you to a beach in your mind.


Ziggy’s song is an obvious one but I still bump it.

“Falling” by Iration instantly brings me back to sophomore year of college when I was spending a lot of time in Waikiki with my group of friends. I can almost taste the Four Lokos. But seriously it’s a great feel good song. I recently saw them in concert at the Del Mar Races and it was just as good live.

“Wade in Your Water” by Common Kings is the perfect song for cruising up to the North Shore. I heard they opened up for Bruno Mars when he was in Hawaii and it was an amazing show. I’ll have to catch them sometime soon.

“Higher Than the Clouds” by Anuhea is MY JAM. This girl is so talented and I remember seeing her play at The Shack (RIP) in Waikiki 10 years ago and thinking this girl is going places. She just released the sweetest version of “True Colors” in Hawaiian for the Lullaby album with a bunch of Hawaiian artists (check it out for your keiki) but I didn’t put it on this list because it’s not very “beach vibey”. “Higher Than the Clouds” is my favorite song of hers.

Last time I was home my mom and I went to the Pure Aloha Fest to see Anuhea perform and then this guy was on after her and we instantly fell in love. Spawnbreezie was so fun live and makes for great beach tunes. My mom’s coworkers are impressed she listens to him too when she puts him on their office radio.

The Green is the best Hawaiian band out there. They have a ton of great songs but “Come In” is one of my faves. Rebelution and SOJA also bring me back to college days. I have some funny stories regarding these bands but I’ll save that for another post. Maybe.

J-Boog, Fiji and Kolohe Kai are also goodies. Check out all their music not just the ones I suggested.

Have fun at the beach! Or at least go there in your mind with these tunes.