Hive on the Hill

There are no fashionable women’s shoe stores on Capitol Hill unless you want to make the trek to Union Station, and who shops at Union Station except passersby and Hill staffers on their lunch break?

That all changes for one brief and shining weekend (as in, this weekend) when the Old Town based boutique,¬†the Shoe Hive, comes to Tabula Rasa on Barack’s Row.

Beginning tonight from 7:00-9:00 with a cocktail reception hosted by my favorite Alisons, DC Celine and Wardrobe Oxygen, and running regular hours through the weekend, all sorts of wonderfulness will be available. From shoes to handbags to jewelry and other accessories, they promise to have something for everybody. Need gifts? Walk away from Amazon Prime for one night to support a local small business. Looking for the perfect holiday shoe? Maybe you will find it here. While I have never actually shopped the Hive since I usually make my big shoe purchases from SimplySoles, I’m impressed by the photos I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook of not only new arrivals in their actual store, but the goodies they are busy unpacking on this side of the river. And they are super responsive on social media, which feels like good customer service to me.

Who knows? Since I already indicated to the Hive-ess that my feet take a size 8, maybe I will find a happy birthday to me present.

Mahalo, Hawaii

Images of HawaiiThank you, Hawaii. And goodbye. (For real, this time.)

Some of you hid me from your Facebook feed these last 2 weeks (admit it) and one of you (Tim) even jokingly asked how many more months I planned to be here. So you’ll be glad to hear that after the unexpected one-day delay, I’m heading home. Home to unseasonably warm DC weather, Christmas planning, my job, and of course, two cute little boys.

I’m going to miss the Maui Onion flavored chips we ate daily, the Kailua Passions we drank on multiple occasions, sunrise walks/runs on the beach, and the laid back attitude of island life. I’m going to miss wearing flip flops and beachwear all day (and night) long. I’m going to miss fresh Ahi, apple bananas, Shave Ice, the most amazing pineapple ever and the Spam aisle at the Foodland.

I’m going to miss having a new experience everyday. Paddle surfing. (Have I mentioned that I’m a goddess at paddle surfing?) Watching the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition on Sunset Beach. Hiking to incredible vistas.

There’s a lot waiting for me back home though. The kids, of course. The Harry Potter¬†Yule Ball my friends are hosting on Saturday. Biker Barre. (Oh, do I need some ass kicking by my friends at Biker Barre.) And George Clooney has already been shipped back to the East Coast where he patiently awaits my return.

The best vacations are those you are bittersweet about ending. You want it to continue – because it’s awesome – but you are eager to go back to your life. Because your kids are amazing and you have seen this entire trip through their eyes.

Except the parts that involved copious fruity cocktails, of course.

a slight change of plans…

Sometimes life throws a curveball. And sometimes that curveball means staying in paradise one more day.

It isn’t always this way. Three years ago I was stranded in Copenhagen for four days longer than my return ticket specified. I loved Copenhagen – don’t get me wrong – but after more than a week, so close to Christmas, after your friends have mostly left town, you kind of just want to get home. It was stressful. There were tears. And thankfully, there was aquavit.

There were tears this time too. And I can hear you all… “this is the world’s smallest violin playing my heart bleeds for you.” But while it doesn’t suck to get stranded in Hawaii for one more day, it was difficult to tell Jack (who has missed me desperately) that I’m an extra day away from seeing him. It was hard to return to our amazing house in Kailua after coming to terms with saying goodbye. And mostly, it was hard to cough up the $500 to change my ticket for tomorrow’s flight because, oh, today’s journey was just to get to the mainland. Tomorrow I had a flight from SFO to DCA. To change that leg to Friday cost more than the original ticket had.

And I’m still just on standby tomorrow, though the Hawaiian Airlines people who would not check me in with 43 minutes til takeoff because I should have been there three hours in advance have told me there are 29 available seats on tomorrow’s flight. So I should make it.

And I will be at the airport three hours early so that I am number one on the standby list. Because while I’ve had an awesome vacation, I’m ready to sleep in my own bed, hug my kids tight and wear something other than a bathing suit to dinner.

a retrospective on packing

It’s easy to find post after post dispensing of (and displaying) advice on how to perfectly pack for your vacation. But do these writers ever follow up with how it all actually worked out?

As I repack my suitcase, I’m struck by what I used and used again and washed and used again. And all those items that I didn’t.

The losers:

Jeans. Why did I bring two pairs? Of course, I needed one for when I was in San Francisco. Two was utterly too many. I haven’t thought twice of wearing denim since leaving the mainland.

Shoes. At the last minute, I threw my super cute Kate Spade espadrille wedges into my suitcase. Where they have stayed for the entire trip with their unworn sister, a pair of camel colored Chie Mihara’s that I brought for SF and planned to use here too. With jeans. (I was wrong.)

The one-piece bathing suit. I thought I might want it for surfing or other water sports. But I committed to the bikinis and didn’t look back.

Two long-sleeved Lululemon half-zips. Granted, they came in handy in San Francisco, but the beach does not cool down at night here, and I should have shipped them home with the work clothes I had my dad send back to DC for me.

Make up. Hair dryer. A navy and white striped cotton pique dress. A stack of bangles. A bunch of condoms? What was I thinking?

What would I bring more of if I had to do it over again? Another bikini. A few more skirts that can go to the beach and transition to dinner.

And definitely, a second pair of flip flops.

skintastic

Photo by chelseachronicl

If there’s one insecurity I grew to overcome quickly here in Hawaii, it’s the exposure of skin. More skin than one is used to exposing in one’s uptight little corner of the world, that is.

Tunics that I normally just use to get from home to the pool and back serve as dresses here and sarongs as skirts. Like, that I have been wearing in public. Not just to the beach either, but to restaurants and bars.

Bikinis are everywhere, so I’m glad I brought four with me. (Though the virgin skin unused to the sun is a little angry with me today when 4 hours on the water prevented my religious reapplication of SPF 50 every hour.)

Espadrille wedges and the one pair of heels I packed remain untouched. I’ve worn nothing but flip flops except the day we went hiking when I wore sneakers. And even worse, because of the sand and the surf, my pedicure is not intact. The horror. I would never dream of exposing a chipped pedicure back home. But here on the island, hang loose.

Photo by chelseachronicl

My runs on the beach I’ve done in a bikini and t-shirt. Not a la Baywatch (I know how you think) but still, for a woman who doesn’t wear shorts even in the height of summer, this is a huge step. It’s too hot for yoga pants, and the one day I wore running crops, they just got all wet anyway so why bother?

I’m relaxed. I’m comfortable. I’ve adapted. I can’t believe that next week I will have to wear heels. And bras. And dress clothes. But vacation wouldn’t be vacation if it happened all the time.

I mean… I don’t know what I mean. That sounds pretty awesome.

on Hawaii

IMG_2284I love Hawaii. I feel at home here. I’m not a beach bum by any stretch of the imagination, but I have enjoyed wearing nothing but a bathing suit since I’ve been here. I haven’t missed heels (did I just write that?) and I don’t mind so-called “island time” which would drive me nuts back in DC.

With the days of my vacation winding down, tonight I let myself be overtaken by emotion. After my friends went to sleep, I walked down to the beach by myself. And while three nights ago the moon lit up the sky, tonight it was nowhere to be seen. I sat in the sand, looked at the cloudy sky, listened to the waves crash, and I cried.

I cried for the remaining days (too few). I cried for the days away from my boys (too many). I cried for the fact that I have the wherewithal to be here (grateful). I cried tears of thanks to my friend Malia for providing the house we’ve called home on this trip (more gratitude). I cried for the uncertainty of when I can return to Hawaii. I cried for the challenges that await me at home. While Month of Chelsea was a resounding success, there is much to be settled still and in Scarlett O’Hara fashion, I’d rather think about it tomorrow.

I haven’t done any of the things I told myself I’d do here. I haven’t finished the sequel to My Night with George Clooney. I didn’t blog until tonight. I took two runs on the beach and a death-defying (maybe breathtaking is a better modifier) hike but other than that I haven’t worked out. I’ve read some books, but not at the speed I intended.

I relaxed. I ate. I drank. I slept like a baby.

I know the right thing is to make the most of my remaining days, so I will be counting each minute and making it count. And then I’ll be planning my return next year with the boys.