Hawaii Honeymoon: 4 days in Honolulu, Oahu

What to do in Honolulu for your honeymoon
For the first leg of our honeymoon in Hawaii last fall, we stayed in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. We were told that the city "wouldn't feel like Hawaii" but that the hotel we picked, The Modern Honolulu, was an awesome boutique hotel just off the main Waikiki Beach area. The hotel was indeed awesome; we had a great corner room (on the top level!) that faced part of the city and part of the marina/hotel pools.
Honolulu city
The Modern Honolulu ocean view

Day 1 
That afternoon when we arrived, we explored the hotel grounds, unpacked, and rested from the long flight. We decided to get dinner on Waikiki Beach at Duke's, a "chain" restaurant on the islands. The location right on the beach, live band, and buzz-ing atmosphere was a good spot for our first night. We got to see our first sunset from our table too! All the delicious food we ate during the trip I plan to recap in another post.
Honolulu Waikiki surf boards
Honolulu Waikiki Beach
Honolulu Waikiki Beach
Honolulu Waikiki Beach
Honolulu Waikiki Beach sunset

Day 2
We were up early, 6am - actually not too bad!, so decided to do Pearl Harbor. This was one of the main attractions we wanted to do and see in Hawaii (and why we chose Oahu vs. The Big Island). We got there around 8:15am (easy Uber ride) and got our tickets for the 12:30pm tour of the USS Arizona Memorial. They are timed tours, so we spent the next 4 hours visiting the museums at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (the official name) that also had the Bowfin submarine, the USS Missouri, an aviation museum, smelling the plumeria flower trees (me not the hubby, ha!), and more. The former battleship and sub took up a lot of time, so we had to even rush to make the 12:30 tour of the Arizona! It did not disappoint. While a very somber and amazing experience, I was glad we took the time (more time than we thought - 6 hours). It was also really cool to tour the Missouri, as my grandpa was on the Midway so it made me think of him and his experience in the Navy. After, we took an Uber to Chinatown, a downtown area with cute shops and restaurants. I specifically wanted to go to Owens & Co. that I had been following on Instagram and upon arrival in the area, realized we should've allocated more time to explore the area and even grab a meal at one of the many restaurants. Next time! Dinner that night was Roy's Waikiki (to come in another food post) but first we got drinks at SKY Waikiki that overlooks the city. Amazing views and fun experience; definitely recommend for a fun atmosphere & great views, even if it is a bit touristy.

Pearl Harbor
Tree of Life Pearl Harbor
plumeria flower in Hawaii
USS Missouri Pearl Harbor
Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor
Arizona Memorial Pearl HarborHonolulu SKY Waikiki
Honolulu SKY Waikiki view of Diamond Head
 Honolulu SKY Waikiki at night

Day 3
We woke up bright and early (6am easily awake once again!) to hike Diamond Head, the volcano crater state monument an Uber's ride from the hotel. The hike took about 25 minutes up and 20 minutes down that had views at various levels. We got up there and took in the 360 degree views - the colors of the ocean and seeing Waikiki Beach from above, both were just amazing! The rest of the day we got pampered starting with a couples massage at the hotel and reserving a daybed at the sunrise pool. Not too shabby having lunch and relaxing poolside! That night we had dinner off the beaten path at a restaurant that the Owens & Co. worker had recommended: Town. We felt like locals!
Diamond Head Monument
Hiking Diamond Head
Hiking Diamond Head
Hiking Diamond Head
Hiking Diamond Head
Diamond Head lookout
The Modern Honolulu pool day
The Modern Honolulu pool
 The Modern Honolulu pool
The Modern Honolulu

Day 4 
For our final day on Oahu, we rented a jeep and took a drive around to the North Shore. I downloaded a great app (Shaka Oahu) that works offline and provides commentary along the trip. We kicked off the drive with malasadas (Portuguese donut hole) from the famous Leonard's. We tried the original (sugar coated) and cinnamon. The light fluffy cinnamon was my favorite. We really got to see "true Hawaii" on this drive passing beautiful scenic views and driving along the water. We stopped on a variety of gorgeous beaches - though turns out the famous Pipeline isn't so amazing in the off season (lol) - and saw Waimea Bay from above. We stopped in Kahuku for famous Giovanni's Shrimp Truck (omg so good) and then headed to the Turtle Bay Resort. We definitely wanted to stop there because we heard it was gorgeous and because of the various movies that were filmed there, like a favorite Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The grounds are so beautiful and we grabbed a drink beach-side before getting back on the road. Our drive took us to a cute town, Hale╩╗iwa, with shops, poke, and Matsumoto's famous shave ice. We got back to the hotel and was happy to catch the Aloha Friday fireworks which we could see from The Modern. Dinner at Morimoto at the hotel capped off our Honolulu experience!
Leonard's Bakery malasadas
Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu
Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu
Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
North Shore Oahu
Pipeline North Shore Oahu
Turtle Bay Resort Oahu
Turtle Bay Resort Oahu
Waimea Bay overlook North Shore Oahu
Laie Point North Shore Oahu
North Shore Oahu poke
North Shore Oahu Matsumoto's Shave Ice Hawaii
Aloha Friday fireworks The Modern Honolulu

Overall, despite Honolulu kinda feeling like being in Miami, we both really loved the city and had a blast. Taking the day trip around the island to the North Shore was totally worth it. We wished we had planned to go to Kualoa Ranch which is supposed to be beautiful and has a movie tour and spending more time in Chinatown, as I mentioned above, but I guess we have many reasons to go back!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! You can also view more photos at #alohacovals. Next stop: Kauai!

All photo by me.

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Creating my rehearsal dinner dress out of my mom's wedding dress

One of the best experiences from planning our wedding last year (wow, feels SO weird to say that!) was the creation of my rehearsal dinner dress.

Last winter, my mom and I opened her preserved wedding dress from when she married my dad. My parents are divorced, but it was really special to see her "dress". I put it in quotations because it really is a wedding suit with a long, high-waisted skirt, blouse, & peplum jacket. We also found their wedding invitation looking through photos (in an album of course), which was so fun! Here are some photos of my mom wearing the dress!

The dress was in great shape despite being in a box for ~30 years! The skirt had a lot of fabric and had a high/low shape that is on trend today, so we decided to work with the skirt to create a dress.

I had a few ideas in mind and found this photo/dress which served as the main inspiration.

We knew just the woman to help us create the dress. Nancy of Maggie Flood is a well-known dressmaker in the Greater Boston area and has been in business for many, many years creating wedding dresses.

We first visited her in May 2016 and she got our vision immediately. She also suggested reworking the peplum jacket to fit me. Nancy said the condition of the fabrics, and the fabric itself, would be great to manipulate. I went to 8 fittings(!!) and her meticulous work & attention to detail made the dress just what my mom & I envisioned. Looking back I wish I had taken more photos of the process but at the time scraps of material didn't interest me enough, I guess. Here are a couple shots of the dress & jacket at one of the last fittings.
I picked the dress up the week leading up to the wedding and the weather the night of our rehearsal dinner was perfect for wearing the jacket too.

I styled the dress with new & old details: rose gold sparkly shoes, my paternal grandma's pearls layered with Kate Spade necklace, and simple hair blow out.

We also had a small display of photos printed for guests at the wedding to see the creation.

I plan to wear it again on our 1 year anniversary - if not before!

Photos by Hello Love Photography and me.

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