Since the day Shawn and I got engaged, we have always said that our first vacation together would be to Hawaii. We both had never been! I know it’s hard to believe, but that was over a year ago. In all honesty, we are two of the busiest kids in all of the land. After the show, we had our fair share of appearances, show obligations, family trips and business opportunities. We were all over the map! We were always grateful for getting the chance to fly to new cities and the opportunities that came our way. However, on all of those trips, we never had the chance to just relax, enjoy each other and switch into vacation mode. Hawaii was the perfect place for us to do all of those things. A couple of my close girlfriends told me it’s their “happy place” – and now it’s ours, too.
Let me start with the smell. IT HAS THE BEST SMELL. I got off the plane and decided I already didn’t want to leave. Hawaii smells like a little slice of heaven, mixed with the ocean and fresh flowers (and Mai Tais). I could smell those from the plane. We headed to the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina where we were greeted with Leis and the friendliest staff. They escorted us to our beautiful ocean front suite – the kind of room you dream about. They told us about all of the fun things we could do – and that relaxing by the beach the entire week was acceptable too! We definitely did both.
On our first night, we watched the sunset and enjoyed a romantic Italian dinner at a restaurant called Noe. We put our phones away (until later for pictures, of course) and had such great conversation. Chef Ryo Takatsuka gave us the tasting menu, where we got a little bit of some of their best dishes. We were in HEAVEN. I love Italian food. Now pair that with some good wine, a hot date in Hawaii – and life is good. We were quite tired and with a full tummy we were ready for bed. After all, we had a Hawaiian blessing in the morning from the one and only Auntie Nettie.
This blessing was extremely special to us. Auntie Nettie lives “where heaven meets earth.” A beautiful area with crystal lagoons, views of the mountains and a couple of cozy huts surrounded by coconut trees. Auntie Nettie greeted us with a smile and I knew this was something we would never forget. She is a Kahu, which means she is a spiritual advisor. She told us about her family and their history as we walked down to one of the lagoons. She gave me a wooden bowl to fill with water from the lagoon, so she could use it to bless us. She took two giant leaves to bless us with. We all put our right hand in the water and said a Hawaiian prayer. Shawn held the bowl while she dipped her fingers in and blessed me first. She blessed my mind and my heart, and then did the same for Shawn. She hugged me close and said that I have good, strong energy. She hugged Shawn and said she liked his energy as well. We then went into the lagoon and went fully under the water to cleanse ourselves. After our cleanse, we presented Auntie Nettie with a gift. It is said that it is a good way to close your blessing and show your respect. Even something small. It was the perfect way to start our trip.
If anyone knows us well, you know that we are HUGE Lost fans. When we found out we were going to the island where Lost was filmed, we geeked out big time. The Four Seasons Resort was so good to us. They booked us a tour and we were two kids on Christmas morning heading over there. We got to do a full tour of the island, swing a club on Hurley’s golf course and hang out on the docks where they filmed many scenes. It was amazing! We were on a high on our drive back, reminiscing of the time we watched the show and how it kind of brought us closer together. We stopped at a couple local spots on our drive back and for the rest of the day, we relaxed by the infinity pool, which looks over the ocean. It was a pretty perfect day.
Seeing how on the show I got to have two helicopter dates, I figured it was only fair to take Shawn on one in Hawaii. He deserved it. Makani Kai helicopters took us up for a bird’s eye tour of the island. If you ever go to Hawaii, this is a must. I can’t get over its beauty. I’ve been to a lot of places in this world and there’s just something about Hawaii. My words won’t do this ride justice.
If you follow us on Snapchat, you would have seen that we ended up taking an incredible hike one morning. It’s called Palehua Palikea, a restricted hike. Not many get to do it so we felt very lucky. It was myself, Shawn, and our leader Anu. What’s really special about doing these things in Hawaii, is the local people who are so knowledgable about the land, the culture and the history there. I learned so much! They don’t care about social media or who you are on TV. They care about where you come from and in turn share their story. This hike was no joke. There were times were I had my back against the mountain taking baby steps saying to myself “don’t look down, don’t look down.” It was a breeze for Anu, He’s done that hike hundreds of times. Shawn and I kept looking at each other with fear in our eyes, but also loving every minute of it. Breathtaking views, stories of the land and a good work out! What a way to start our day.
We did a few other things on our trip – went to a couple local bars, drove around, hit a few beaches off the resort. We visited Pearl Harbor and paid our respects. That meant a lot to Shawn.
By the end of our trip we were feeling like locals. We even felt brave enough to swim with sharks. I’m telling you. This was not on my bucket list, but it was on Shawn’s so I wanted to be there and do it with him. We will see what he has to say when we go sky diving, which is on my bucket list. He is hooped now! That was an insane experience. We had such a fun car ride on the way there. We dressed up in silly Hawaiian shirts with two dollar sunglasses from the gas station, not thinking about what we were about to do. We got in with a father and his three boys. They own the little company called Island View Hawaii. They were pretty much born to do this. So calm and just great local guys. Once we got out there, I was like “ok, theres no turning back”. We went about 20 minutes out and the boys jumped in. I was like, “wait a second, we don’t have to sign anything? We are just jumping in and swimming with sharks?” I didn’t let myself over think it and I jumped right in with them. At first I was panicking and couldn’t even put my goggles on in the water to see what was around me. But, eventually, Shawn and the guys made me feel calm and as comfortable as one could be swimming with sharks. There were a few just swimming around us, I even made eye contact with one. It was terrifying. What was stopping them from having me for lunch? They said usually people start to get comfortable in there after the first few minutes. But to us, it just kept getting scarier. More sharks started showing up, circling around us, which makes for great photos but after abut 25 minutes we called it quits. We got in, we swam with them, got some pictures and now can say we did it. Would I do it again? HELL NO. But I suggest doing it once in your life. Pretty wild experience. And Shawn was super proud of me – so that counts for something.
The Four Seasons Resort really gave us the Four Seasons treatment. They go above and beyond for their guests and I can’t wait to go back. I sprained my toe and they even had an ice pack waiting in my room just from watching our Snapchat story. SO thoughtful and the whole stay there was life changing. I mean that. We had such a romantic, relaxing, exciting, magical time.
Screw Disneyland. Hawaii is the happiest place on earth.