Back Again

Hello hello!

We are reunited (and it feels so good). I missed ya. No, seriously, I did.

My random thoughts had nowhere to go, except towards my husband. I’m sure he appreciates me getting back to blogging. That way I can spill anything and everything that crosses my mind to you instead of him.

Like, Is there such a thing as too many sprinkles? And, Are there skinny jeans that won’t make my legs look like sausages? These gems, I’m sure, are better suited for my invisible internet friends than my husband.

I didn’t post much on social media. Just a few pictures here and there but not nearly as frequently as I normally do. Which was actually quite refreshing. I didn’t scroll through any of my feeds (except Pinterest) for THREE WHOLE WEEKS. I know.

I had a fabulous time on the Big Island with my family. I’ve got some posts coming up on a couple of things we did there. One of them includes me drinking beer. Say whaaaaat?

So, my lovelies, what have you been up to?

Photo by Marcus Hoapili

Grace in Small Things No. 37

1. Meeting up with old friends.

2. Dole Whip.

3. You’ve Got Mail on Netflix.

4. The possibility of taking a vacation.

5. Knowing that despite all the stress and crying, it’s worth it. Every single second.

To learn more about the Grace in Small Things movement, check out the website here.

Photo by Arbine Villanueva-Hoapili

A Little Video

Bonjour mes amis!

One of my blogging goals for this year was to learn how to take and create videos. I’m still very much a novice, a newb if you will, and I’ve made a ton of mistakes (hellooo shaky cam and shooting INTO the sun), but I’m having a lot of fun learning.

Here’s a video from our recent staycation at Aulani.*

My husband is pretty darn good with a hula hoop.

Hope ya’ll have a (in Eccleston accent) fantastic weekend!

Much love, bacon, and sprinkles,
 Arbine

P.S. I’ll be taking Labor Day off but will be back on Wednesday with more random bloggy goodness.

Photo by A Disney Cast Member
Video by Arbine Villanueva-Hoapili and Marcus Hoapili

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am in no way affiliated with Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa or The Walt Disney Company

A Day at Aulani

A little over a week ago my family and I got to spend a day at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa.*

It was AWESOME.

Since our youngest has been talking non-stop about our trip to Disneyland this past May, we thought it would be fun to celebrate her birthday at Aulani. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Arbine, isn’t it hella expensive to stay there? The short answer: Yes. Yes it is. BUT, if you can find someone who is willing to sell you DVC points (making it considerably less than paying the rack rate), it’s totally worth the high-ish price tag.

I can’t say enough about how amazing Disney is at attention to detail. You could spend a day just looking at all the little things (from both Disney and Hawaii) incorporated into the design, architecture, and decor. I particularly loved the photographs in Kālepa’s Store of general stores across Hawaii.

Aunty’s Beach House. Seriously, one of THE BEST values on property. If you are traveling with kiddos and want some time to yourself, have a nice dinner, or maybe get a massage at Laniwai, you can drop your little ones off at Aunty’s Beach House FOR FREE.

That’s right. They offer complimentary child care. Some of the special activities and lunch cost extra, but the majority of the activities and just being able to hang out and play there is totally free.

Aunty’s Beach House has Open House from 8:00am till about 9:30am where children can check out the space with their parents. After that, no parents allowed. Let me tell you, Aunty’s Beach House is pretty darn rad. Dress up areas, coloring stations, video games, and a ton more. There’s even an outdoor play area. Our daughters LOVED it.

If your family is more the hang-out-by-the-water-all-day-long type, Waikolohe Valley is the place to be. In addition to a couple of big pools and kids only areas, it has a lazy river, water slides, an infinity edge and adult only pool, and a private snorkeling lagoon. If you want to indulge a little more, private cabanas are available to rent. Which, if you can afford, I would recommend. It was really tough to find chairs so we had to just lay our towels and bags right next to the pool we were swimming in.

If you feel the need to nosh after some pool time, there are several quick service dining options in Waikolohe Valley. And for all you Dole whip fans, you can get your fix at The Lava Shack. When we went, it was $4.00 for a self-serve cup.

The Starlit Hui isn’t something that is offered every evening, but if you are there when it will happen, I highly encourage you to attend. It’s unlike any hula show you’ve ever seen before. Plus, if you’re lucky, some Disney friends might make a special appearance.

Whenever you decide to visit Aulani, please don’t wait until your room is ready to enjoy the resort. There is just SO MUCH to do. And you can take advantage of ALL the amenities once you check in.**

We loved our time at Aulani and can not wait to go back.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i
92-1185 Ali‘inui Drive Kapolei, HI 96707 | 808.443.4763 | Website

Photos by Arbine Villanueva-Hoapili, Marcus Hoapili, & A Disney Cast Member

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am in no way affiliated with Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa or The Walt Disney Company. 

**We checked in at 7:30 on a Friday morning and left the resort at around 9pm the next evening.

Our Fave Places in Waimea

At least once a year (sometimes twice) my family and I visit my husband’s parents at their timeshare in Waikoloa on the Big Island. Although we enjoy hanging out in the pool and participating in various timeshare activities (Zumba, getting free shaved ice), we do like to venture beyond the resort gates. One of our favorite places to head to? Waimea.

A little town with a history rooted in cattle ranching, Waimea is about a 30 minute drive from the Waikoloa resort area. The Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) influence can be seen all around Waimea, including on the stop signs.

There are a ton of great places to visit while in Waimea, but here are some of our favorites.

Mamane Bakery
64-1056 Mamalahoa Hwy Kamuela, HI 96743 | 808.885.7441
Open Monday-Saturday 7:00am-1:30pm; Closed on Sunday

Just down the road from the Parker Ranch Center, Mamane Bakery can help satisfy any sweet tooth. They bake pastries and breads fresh daily. Unfortunately, they were closed on our most recent visit so I wasn’t able to get any pictures of their goodies.

A little note: It can be a bit difficult to find so be sure to keep an eye out for these signs. The driveway that leads up to the bakery is located just before them.

Waimea Park

Across the street from Parker School, Waimea Park has a pretty big play area for the kiddos. There isn’t anything like this near the timeshare, so my daughters are always eager to stop by.

Village Burger
Parker Ranch Center | 67-1185 Mamalahoa Hwy Kamuela, Hawaii 96743 | 808.885.7319
Open Monday-Saturday 10:30am-8:00pm; Sunday 10:30am-6:00pm | menu

They make the best burger I’ve ever had. And I’m not the only one who thinks that these burgers are the bee’s knees. Village Burger has been featured in USA Today and was recently named one of the Top Ten Burger Joints in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.

The burgers are made with pasture raised Hawaiian beef, are topped with fresh, local veggies, and the buns are from Holy’s Bakery in Kapaau. If you’re not a fan of meat, give their hand cut fries with parmesan goop a try. They’re so good you may want to get two orders of them.

So, if you ever find yourself on the west side of the Big Island and are looking for a new place to explore, why not mosey on down to Waimea. You’re almost guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face and a very happy belly.

Photos by Arbine Villanueva-Hoapili and Marcus Hoapili