Monday, April 16, 2012

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii!

I was so fortunate to be able to go visit my best friend, Jeanine (aka Juniper), this past March in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where she now lives! I've always wanted to visit Hawaii, and thanks in large part to my tax refund (okay, thanks COMPLETELY because of my tax refund--tickets to Hawaii are EXPENSIVE! Who knew?! Ha!) I was able to make the voyage over there! Hawaii is a beautiful place and I enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit crazy while I was there (a little chilly and stormy). During my layover in Honolulu they were having (or at least this is what I was told) record storms. Nevertheless, I am not fazed by mere rain, I am from Portland after all.

The trip itself got off to a slightly rocky start (pardon the pun) with a near death experience! I got caught in a huge wave my first day in Hawaii, and was thrown between two large rocks (Everyone on the beach was freaking out and convinced that I was dead when I finally resurfaced). It wasn't until I got back to our towels that I realized (after a guy pointed it out) that I had blood running down my leg from three cuts that I have no recollection of getting. One of the cuts left a scar and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of it! It reminds me of how fortunate I am! And there's no better souvenir than a scar!

Jeanine got quite a few days off while I was there and because of that her and I were able to do a little exploring during my week-long visit. I got my fill of laying on beaches, drinking cold tropical drinks, snorkeling, and best of all I got lots of quality time with her, her boyfriend Paul, their 3 dogs, and their landlord's dog, who they were dog-sitting for. I got to see parrots, LOTS of geckos, wild goats, turtles, crab spiders, and plenty of fish! I also got to taste Rambutan, Dragonfruit, and Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) for the very first time. I visited a lava tube, did some dancing, and went night swimming. I was able to enjoy local mangoes, bananas, avocados and coconuts (and more that I cannot currently remember). Let's face it, I am one very lucky girl!

String Lanterns

Years ago, while working as a HR assistant temp in a call center, I saw the most amazing/easy/genius/cheap decoration being used for company parties. One of the managers was a fan of DIY and this was one of her creations (that I have since seen all over the place). It's a simple concept really. She used round balloons to make hers, but I was too lazy to look all over for round balloons (at the time I was living in a small town with barely more than a Walmart). I used regular balloons, and though she thought that using regular balloons made this decoration look too much like an egg, I felt that it turned out just fine with the right paint on it. I've hauled this decoration with me through two different moves and had countless compliments on them. I've also had a LOT of people ask me how to do it.

This is a very inexpensive project. The only things you really need are balloons (your choice as to to the balloon shape!), some sort-of recipe for paper mache glue (there are all kinds of recipes available online if you do a google search), and a thick string or yarn. And of course paint if you choose to customize the look a little bit (I painted these gold, then spray painted them with gold glitter. I then filled each of them with some brown and white vanilla-scented potpourri.). I recommend getting as creative as you can! Nothing is quite as freeing as coming up with something unique that you are creating for yourself and that is exactly what YOU want and are picturing in your mind!

Step 1: Blow up the balloon to the desired size and tie off.
Step 2: Mix up a batch of your paper mache glue.
Step 3: Dip your string/yarn in the glue until it is coated.
Step 4: Wrap the string/yarn around the balloon every which way until it has the look you want (you need to wrap it enough for it to have a strong framework).
Step 5: Let dry.
Step 6: Pop the balloon!
Step 7: Paint/decorate it to your heart's content! :)
Step 8: Hang or display where you want.