7 Days in Hawaii for under $1200

I visit Hawaii about twice a year.  It is one of my favorite destinations: perfect beaches, perfect water temps, snorkeling for days, and farmer’s markets on every corner.  Every time we tell friends or family we are heading to Hawaii, they respond with, “Again? How do you afford to got there so often?  I want to get on your program!”  For all of you wanting to get on our program, here is how we do it.

Flight: $500 
Booking a flight eats up a big chunk of the budget right off the bat.  I set a Kayak alert so I know when prices drop and am willing to book immediately for any period of time in our open time frame.  The key here is to be flexible on dates and to be proactive.  I have ever found a flight from SLC > KOA for about $450.

Lodging: $180
The cheapest way to stay on the island is to camp for about $30-50/night.  The beaches in Hawaii close at night so it is illegal to camp on the beach there are plenty of campgrounds that can be booked through the state or county.  You will also have access to flush-toilets and showers behind doors if you camp.  If you don’t have a tent, some of the islands have little cabins where you will just need a sleeping bag + sleeping pad + pillow that are on the $50 end of the range. The Big Island and Kauai have the easiest and most plentiful camping options. You won’t be staying in a five-star hotel with all the amenities but you will likely meet some pretty cool folks and get some great local recommendations.

Eating: $200
The first stop on any Hawaiian vacation should be a local farm stand. The growing season is 365 days a year in Hawaii and every island has amazing locally-grown fruits and veggies.  Grab yourself a bag of coffee, some bananas, stuff for a salad, and veggies to dip in dips like Hummus.  Eat at least two meals a day from your farm stand stash.  The other secret is happy hour.  Every restaurant has a happy hour menu in the 3:00-6:00 time frame. This just happens to be timed to perfectly coincide with dinner-time on the mainland.  Eat your big dinner and get yourself a $5 Mai Tai during Happy Hour.  This isn’t usually the healthiest food so make sure you get your five-a-day in before this meal.  The other bonus is that by eating dinner on your mainland schedule will make the readjustment to coming home much easier.

Transportation: $200
When it comes to Hawaiian transportation, get yourself a car with the best gas mileage.  Gas can be so pricey there that you may spend your savings from renting a gas guzzler on gas.  If you have a Costco membership, bring your card to buy gas (and sushi) at the cheapest place on the island.

Extras: $100
It is rare that I buy any souvenirs or extras on any vacation but if you need to, you have $100 to do it.  I have spent it on a pedicure, a 5k race entry fee, locally crafted hand-soaps, and/or a beach umbrella rental. You might need to rent a snorkel gear (if you don’t have it already), buy a beach wrap (which works better and dries faster than a towel), or eat sushi instead of salad. If you don’t spend it, you can always blow the whole lot on extra leg room for the plane ride home.

So there you have it! If your trip to Hawaii is about beaches and blue water then this is a great way to do it and do it often. Get with the program!


Lost and Found

Since having finished my marathon (as I have been calling it lately) I have had some difficulty finding the inspiration to keep training.  I know I have some pretty lofty goals for my next marathon and for the next year of racing so not wanting to go for a run has been mildly frustrating.  I keep telling myself that I just need to take a break and that I will soon find my drive again, but I worry that I am kidding myself. Then this morning, with my eyes glued to the tele, I watched history in the making and found myself lacing up my shoes and heading out for a run.

meb wins Boston

Meb wins Boston!                                                                       Photo from businessinsider.com

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My first 26.2: 2014 LA Marathon Race Report


If you have spoken with me since November 15, 2013, then our conversation was probably dominated by one topic: my training for the LA Marathon. My obsession got me to the start line and more importantly to the finish line.  I had a some expectations for myself, of which I only met one (two, if you count getting to the starting line) but the experience was unforgettable and I am so happy to finally be able to say that I have run a marathon. LA_MARATHON_SIGN.jpg Continue reading

Find Your Drishti


I have been practicing yoga at least once a week since Thanksgiving because it is good for me. In so many ways, it is good for me. Lately, however, I have been practicing restless yoga. During poses I have been restless and my mind seemed to be arguing with my body, not able to thank it for supporting me through all my crazy ideas of fun, like 18 and 20 mile runs in back-to-back weekends. But today the yoga instructor, Kerry Armstrong from Salt Lake Power Yoga, was able to read my little brain bubble floating above my head and said the perfect thing for me, “Find your drishti.” And that was it, I focused on the point between my feet and the whole class changed for me.

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Something that Scares Me

In an unusual bought of body confidence, I chose to wear this as my top to yoga this morning. It has been sitting, along with its non-identical twin, in my underwear drawer for over a year. I purchased these yoga bras on Black Friday in 2012 when I justified the purchase, thinking, “It is such a great deal and I have always wanted to be one of those girls who can pull off a bra at yoga class. And this one fits so great!” For a year it has been haunting me in the back of the drawer, begging to be used or given away.

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Time for a Close-up

Christmas week is finishing up and as I stand back up and brush my hands off, I have been forced to come down from the high provided to me through those incredible spirits that surrounded me this week. This detox wasn’t wanted, or expected really, but as with all things I have done my best to learn from this experience what I can and arise each day having learned a lesson from yesterday. For the past 24 hours I have been giving myself a close-up examination of my mood, my needs, my wants, etc., and I have been doing some journaling (my pen and paper act as a therapist regularly) to learn from all of this and I came up with a few one-liner-mantras. Continue reading

Congratulations, Sonia!

Every once in a while I witness one of my friends do something spectacular.  Not that I don’t have spectacular friends who do are amazeballs all the time but I don’t very often get the chance to actually witness the thing happening.  But last weekend my friend, Sonia, did something spectacular and I am so proud I was able to be a part of it!

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Vineman 70.3 Recap

It has been a while since I have been here.  There are several reasons for that. But I feel like I owe it to myself to record the experience I had at Vineman 70.3 on Sunday.

So happy to have shared a great day with a great friend!

Back in November, I decided to sign up for the Vineman 70.3 half Ironman.  I have done this race once before and didn’t finish with the outcome that I had hoped for.  When I signed up the second time my intent was to go back to the same course and redeem myself, to go have the race that I meant to have the first time.  I signed up with my friend, Melissa, who had just completed her first 70.3 event in Austin, TX.  I think that training with her on her long bike rides through the Fall had given me the motivation that I needed to turn over $300 to a race designed to test my limits.

Test my limits it did.  The next 8 months put me on a roller coaster of training, not training, emotion, and pushing my limits to places I never knew were possible.

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School’s Out For Summer!

Remember back when you were little. Remember those butterflies you would get in your stomach during the last week of school?  My favorite day was field day.  It was full of sun and fun and box lunches that we got to eat outside on the grass.  I enjoyed every second of it.

Today, I went to the track for a speed workout and I found the Intermediate School (5th and 6th graders) there enjoying their field day.  The students and teachers were racing each other in 400 M relays.  How fun!  I could tell they were getting close to finishing so I went to my car and did a little work on my phone while I waited.  As the students started to file out of the stadium and I headed out for my warm-up the fire truck across the field turned its water on full blast.  The happy laughter and screams could be heard blocks away as the kids disappeared into the cloud of mist.  The kids got soaked while having a great time.  And just in time for the buses to pick them up.

Now that I am home and it is warm outside, I am craving a sprinkler and a sheet of plastic so that I can enjoy a homemade slip-n-slide while getting grass stains and eating popcicles.  Somehow, I don’t think it will feel the same as it did back when I was younger and my bathing suit was baggy.  I suppose I will have to settle for my Nook and a lounge chair next to a pool.   Anyone?

Prevent the Re-run: What are your favorite memories from the last week of school?