Tag Archives: beach

Hawaii

Hi my friends! Oh my goodness, I have been neglecting my blog but for good reason…Summer has begun and we’ve been busy with a new schedule and some travel too! Let’s catch up a bit…

In early June, we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Hawaii and stay at the Four Seasons in Kona. I had to pinch myself!

the gorgeous view from our room!

the gorgeous view from our room!

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It was through Chris’ work and while he was busy in meetings, I got to play around the pool and beach with the other wives. Let’s just say Mai-tai’s at the swim up bar before lunch became a daily ritual! I know that is a tad early…but really they are mostly juice…and rum. Ah. Forget it. Anyways…

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Oh, did I mention that we left the kiddos at home with my parents? Yeah. It was kinda awesome. I missed the girls, of course but to have time away at such a dreamy place was sublime.

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I have to share this little adventure with you –

We had the first couple of days to ourselves so Chris thought it would be fun to rent a canoe and paddle around the ocean. I agreed – imagining myself reclined and sunning while he did the rowing! :) Well…let me tell you…I was in for a surprise!

We unknowingly rented a Hawaiian racing canoe! Think super long, skinny boat with two tiny seats, and outrigger on one side. Looks like it will tip over and dump you into the ocean if you look at it the wrong way. We must have looked confused because a burly Hawaiian guy approached us and inquired about our reservation. We gave him our last name. He nods, introduces himself and then proceeds to explain the training he is going to put us through before we can take the canoe out alone.

Training?! What the —-?? Ok. Let’s do this – I told myself, trying to muster up my courage. It was when, in his long speech about operating the canoe, that he said “simulate a flip” that my heart start to beat.

“Wait…simulate a flip?” I asked, trying not to sound terrified.

“Yeah…it’s no biggie. We will get you out to about 150 ft. depth and then we will lean to one side and flip the canoe over.” He shrugged.

I stared at him. No biggie? I hadn’t even planned on getting wet during this “relaxing” canoe trip. Plus, I couldn’t even remember the last time I actually swam. Wading into the shallow end during a kid pool party probably doesn’t count.

“Yeah…he continued, and then I’m gonna have you pull yourself up on the capsized canoe and pull it over so it’s right side up again. It’s easy!” says the guy who is all muscle, complete with a sinuous dragon tattoo meandering the slopes of his bulging arms.

I continued to stare. I’m pretty sure my mouth was open.

Chris laughed a little and squeezed my hand.

I chose to watch from the safety of the beach as the trainer and Chris went out first. They made it look easy…of course. The canoe sliced through the water as they timed their rowing.

As they hauled the canoe back to the beach, I could feel myself mentally sliding backward. I didn’t HAVE to do this. I could say no but then somehow, I managed to push past my fear and cheerfully grabbed an oar. I was gonna do this!

I gotta admit, once on the canoe, and adjusting to the rowing, I found myself enjoying it! The water was beautiful. Infinite shades of sapphire, turquoise and teal. One or two sea turtles swam just beneath the surface, their sweet faces popping up out of the water as we glided by. As the ocean got darker and darker, I could feel my hands start to shake. I knew we were closer to the dreaded “flip”!

Finally, our kind instructor announced, “Okay, Ivette time to flip this thing over!”

My body tensed up as I gazed into the seemingly endless blue depths. I decided this was not a good time to ask about sharks…

“Just lean to opposite side of the outrigger and we will flip over. Then swim back up to the boat, pull your upper body on the canoe and reach with your hand to pull it over. You can do it!”

“Okay….”

Boom. Within a millisecond of leaning we were in the drink. I came up, sea water up my nose. Mascara running down my face. I must have been a sight. Somehow, my brain told my legs to kick and my swimming skills returned. Not sure if I was terrified or super annoyed, I swam back to that damn canoe, hauled myself up on it and flipped it right over! Yeah! It felt good!

Now, I just had to get back on the stupid thing. Kicking like a maniac (I probably looked like a dying sea mammal – basically a shark magnet) I finally pulled my lanky self back into the seat. The trainer glanced back at me to get a read on my mental state. I managed a smile and we headed back.

Chris and I took the canoe out together and enjoyed a “paddle”. We did quite well, till I turned back to him and asked “Hey do I still have mascara all over my….”

I had turned around the WRONG way and dumped us both in the sea. Damn it!

At the end of our little adventure, I was proud of conquering my fear and trying something VERY outside my comfort zone. Would I do it again? Probably wouldn’t be on my top 10 but I’m glad we did it. I found I was stronger, braver and more determined that I thought I was. Discovering that made it all worth it.

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Have you ever done something out of your comfort zone only to discover something about yourself? Would love to hear about it!

xo,

Ivy

P.S. I have also been working on some new art pieces…more on that later this week. :)

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Filed under nature, photography, Stories, Travel

A Creative Weekend away…

Hello there! How is life treating you this week? Besides a pesky summer cold, I’m doing quite well and I’m so thankful that last weekend I got to get away with a dear friend for a creative retreat! We stayed at the sweetest cottage in the quaint Oregon beach town of Manzanita. Here are some shots via my Instagram

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This cottage doesn’t get any cuter right? It is the perfect place for a beach getaway.

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The vintage kitchen is adorable with layered personal touches and unique collections.

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Mornings (sans kids) were blissfully quiet and peaceful – sipping coffee, reading magazines and writing in my journal. Here is Katie enjoying a fav cooking mag.

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After we had substantial amounts of coffee we would move outside into the “garage” which is really an amazing outbuilding that my friend Candace converted into a charming dining hall. Strung with lights and adorned with artwork, old wine bottles and other beautiful objects it feels like a beachy treasure trove. The energy in this space is fantastic and you can tell many wonderful evenings have been spent at the long farmhouse table. We were immediately inspired.

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It didn’t take long for us to spread out and get right into a creative zone…

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After a little bit of art journaling and playing with my watercolors…

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I began a small mixed media piece…

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Almost done…Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 10.43.35 AM

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And finished! Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 10.43.48 AM

It was an amazing weekend and I was sad to leave. As much as I missed my family, having some precious time to focus on art was such a gift. Katie and I agreed to do it again soon! Thank you, Candace for letting us stay at your magical home!

Do you have a favorite place to get away and create?

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under Art, collage, Crafting, creativity, holiday, photography, Stories, Travel, vintage

Friday Escape: Maldives

Okay so are you ready for your Friday Escape? I am! Thank you so much to those of you who left suggestions. I really appreciate it. I made a list and we will be visiting all the lovely locations you recommended.

Today, thanks to one of my fabulous readers, Hera, we are going to the Maldives!

This gorgeous Island Nation is in the Indian ocean about 250 miles south-west of India. Amazing crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and decadent resorts…it’s a little slice of paradise. Let’s go!

I know…it doesn’t look real. I’ve only seen this kind of beach as a screen saver!  This must be where they get those shots!

We are staying at the Alila Villas Hadahaa resort. The resort is located on one of the tropical islands in the North Huvadhoo Atol. It’s reputation is stellar and many celebrities have stayed here…so it should be perfect for us.

Luxury – check. Amazing – check. Could never afford it in real life – check.

That’s it up ahead…see the little villas that are built right over the ocean! I booked us in one of those…of course. Only the best for my Friday escape travelers.

Welcome to the resort…wanna go see our Aqua Villa….

Isn’t it beautiful? Let’s go inside…

Yeah… this should be just fine. Follow me and I’ll show you where I will be spending most of my time…

So fabulous right? The colors of the water are so stunning! Who’s making cocktails? Oh heck, I’ll just have some brought over to us.

So what do you think? A couple of hours on the deck then we can hit the beach, a sunset soak at the spa followed by a massage then we will hit the bar and restaurant for dinner…sound like a plan?

The two restaurants at the resort, Battuta and Relish serve up Maldivian and Moroccan inspired cuisine. Yum! I love trying new dishes. Want recipes? Go here or here.

I ordered this delectable Moroccan chicken and chickpea dish with spicy avocado! Recipe.

That was delicious! Let’s stroll back to our villa. I am totally ready to fall asleep, listening to the waves…

Wow look at those stars. This place is magical. Okay…lets see take a vote…raise your hand if you never want to leave!

Hope you enjoyed this little jaunt to the Maldives. Pretty amazing place huh? Thanks for coming along.

I hope you have a perfect weekend.

xo,

Images via here and here.

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Filed under Friday Escapes, Recipes, Stories, Travel

The Magic Beach Cottage

We spent the weekend in the quiet beach town of Manzanita.  Friday afternoon, the winds were relatively calm, so we took advantage of this rare occurrence and hit the sand.

Later we explored the town…

Our little cottage was just off the main drag, so it was perfect for strolling. We enjoyed a fantastic bistro lunch at Bread and Ocean. Decadent grilled paninis and white wine. Lovely.

Being a book nerd, I had to check out the Cloud and Leaf bookstore. It was so charming! Intimate and whimsical with fairy lights strung about and books stacked floor to ceiling, I was instantly in love.

Manzanita is a wonderful Oregon beach town but the highlight – the real gem of our weekend, was the amazing cottage we were lucky enough to stay in.

Welcome to the Magic Beach Cottage…(that’s what Grace calls it).

Grace was enamored with the daisies, her favorite flower.

The old garage has been converted into a vintage inspired, rustic dining room. The perfect place to celebrate.

The fire pit was another added bonus. This chair was my home most of the evenings. Wine in one hand, smore in the other – I was one happy girl. Even the barbies joined us. haha!

Reluctantly, we packed our bags on Sunday, said goodbye to the magical cottage and made our way back home.

Grace sat on this bench outside the back door, not wanting to leave. She keeps asking when we are going back.

I wish I knew…

xo,

P.S. Thank you to Candace for sharing your special home away from home.

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Filed under photography, Stories, Thoughts, Travel

Let the sunshine in…

I was perusing my Pinterest boards and I wanted to share a beautiful collection of dreamy sun filled images.

We are off to the quaint seaside town of Manzanita, to stay at a friend‘s vintage beach cottage!

Can’t wait to get down there, unwind, sit around the fire pit with my feet in the sand and take a ton of photos!

Have a gorgeous summer weekend!

xo,

Images via: Rowena R, violetbellaphoto, yyellowbird, Gabriela Gattaneo

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