Back from Vacation!

You may have noticed that I've been slacking on the posts for the last week or so. Why? Well, I went on an actual vacation. Amazing but true. The last real vacation my hubby and I went on (where neither of us was there for work or we weren't visiting family) was to Maui over 3 years ago. That trip was a disaster (I had severe abdominal pain that turned out to be gall bladder issues, had to have surgery when we got back, not to mention the drunk driver that hit us the one time I felt well enough to leave the resort). We thought we kinda deserved some time away, alone, and **gasps** without our computers!

So, I prepared some posts to auto-publish, we hopped on a plane . . .

And we went to the Big Island of Hawaii. It took us 14 hours to get there (actually, it was meant to be 14 hours, turned out to be more like 16 hours thanks to some issues we had with a plane fuel engine.), but it really was really worth it in the end.

The Big Island isn't really the big island. Its name is actually Hawai'i, the entire state is named after it. The island is about 4,000 square miles, making it bigger than the other Hawaiian islands combined and about the size of Connecticut. It's the youngest of the islands and has 11 of the possible 13 climates found on Earth! Some areas are incredibly lush, Hilo gets the most rain on Earth (over 200 inches a year), but we stayed on the west side in an area named Kohalo that is the sunniest in the islands that only gets about 7 inches of rain. Turns out this is great for resorts, but the surrounding areas are.... lava?

Really, everything immediately around our resort was lava. It was strange and interesting, and I wished I had brought my cousin (who is working on her PhD in Geology at UCSD).

Our resort was actually very lush and amazing. It was a series of buildings rather than 1 huge hotel. Rooms were in 2 story buildings, spread around the resort. There were 4 different areas to swim in, the 2 main ones being the "Adult/Quiet Pool" and the "Family Pool" areas. We spent most of our time at the family pool. The vibe there was much more friendly, the kids were well behaved and we had a cool waterfall feature. The staff was very attentive, constantly refreshing our water if our ice cubes melted, bringing us fruit or offering to spray us with Evian. Truly. I took the fruit, but I draw the line at making someone spray me with Evian.

We did spend one day at the Adult pool, which was like being on display. There was a bit of competition for having the best/most expensive look and body, you could overhear the entire conversation if someone else was talking (no waterfall to diffuse the noise), and I got tired of hearing who was only renting in the Hamptons for the summer rather than buying.

Drive about 30 minutes south and you enter the Kona area, which is known for it's coffee. We stopped at Greenwell Farms, which is the largest and oldest of the farms in the area. Coffee grown outside of this small area of Kona (even if it's grown in the Islands) has to be called Hawaiian rather than Kona coffee. A fairly high percentage of Kona coffee is processed here even if they didn't grow it, and our little 20 minute tour was really interesting. They do roast their own coffee (amazing!), and you can taste it at different farms just as if you were visiting different wineries in Napa. We brought some home, but you can order on-line as well.

The beauty highlight (besides the L'Occitane products in the bathroom) had to be the facial I got at the spa. They used Epicuren products on me, a line I've seen and heard great things about but have never used before. I think the picture above has about half of the products she used on me, these are the ones I remember for sure. My skin definitely loved my facial and I left with a few small samples, so I'll hopefully be writing about some of these products more in depth sometime!

While on vacation I did a huge amount of sunscreen testing, not to mention trying out some great new waterproof products. Stay tuned for posts!

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