Aloha, Beaches

I can’t believe it’s been a month since one of my best friends got married. Nicole and Davin tied the knot on February 18, 2017 on the North Shore of Hawaii.

They moved there in 2011 – which I remember well because we had a helluva party before she left and because it was just a few months before Stephen and I moved to Wyoming. I can remember having several gchats with her about her “super big secret” (no, seriously, that’s what we referred to it as for a bit) and talking about what our futures looked like.

Well, after six years (yes, I’m a terrible friend and also afraid of flying – so sue me) I finally made it out to Hawaii to see this beauty in her element. And let me tell you, she shines brighter than she ever has in the 20+ years that I’ve known her.

First off, I’d like to point out that I really believed my trip would be similar to Saved by the Bell’s Hawaiian Style movie. I’m pretty disappointed that I wasn’t greeted by Kelly Kapowski’s grandfather playing his ukelele and singing, “Welcome to the Hawaiian Hideaway, your cares will slide away, beneath the sunshine in the morning and the moon at night…”

But seriously. Nicole’s family was incredibly gracious and offered me in a room in their house rental. They found out I was traveling alone and knew how difficult it might be for a solo person to find an affordable spot on the North Shore, especially since most are giant house rentals – way too much for one person, and out of my price range. The house was right on the beach and this was my morning view while having my coffee:

Nicole and Davin had a welcome party at their house on Wednesday evening to welcome everyone to town. It was so fun to catch up with our girl gang. It can be hard to get us all together at once, but once we’re together it feels like we’ve never left home.

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Oh, and Kathy and I obviously made friends with Nicole’s dog, Sophie. No surprise there.

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Is it weird that my smile is the largest when I am around dogs? No, of course not. 

Nicole’s bachelorette bash was on Thursday since we would all be in town. We decided to do more of a day-party, since her ceremony rehearsal was in the morning and mostly because no one wants to be hungover the day before their wedding.

Crista, Nicole’s sister, is basically a super-MOH because she was so on top of everything and had the tough job of coordinating about 100 things with girls who don’t live in the same area. In the end, she chose to have a beach party at the Hilton Hawaiian lagoon in Honolulu, dinner at Duke’s, and then a few drinks elsewhere to end the night right.

Real quick, can we talk about how cute these shirts are?

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Yes, I’m wearing Patagonia’s baggies skirt. #funhogging

We had matching mason jars, too. We took about a hundred Boomerangs because, why not, right?

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being super cute – if there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s being beach kids #beachkidsfeelnopain

Dinner at Duke’s was fun (and super delicious), and we had end of the night drinks out before heading back home. Nicole had an amazing time, and I won’t post the selfie that I took with her while she was sleeping on my shoulder on the cab ride home. But don’t you worry, I’m saving that sucker for the right time.

Friday evening Nicole had an awesome welcome reception at a local bar on the North Shore. The highlight was recreating a photo that we took when we were fifteen. Honestly? Not much has changed. We’re still fabulous.

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Quick departure from all of the wedding festivities – and on to running. I did a lot of running in Hawaii for two reasons – we were running an 8 mile race on Monday (because only Nicole would want to run a race two days after her wedding) and because when I left we were in the middle of an ice storm, so better take advantage of that weather, right?

The heat was hard to acclimate to at first, but I did it just fine, and found myself using running as a way to sightsee the neighborhood.

Back to our regularly scheduled program. The main event.

Nicole made a beautiful bride. Seriously, she was just so stunning in her gorgeous dress. It rained shortly after her ceremony, and as she and Davin walked over to cocktail hour in the rain, she was glowing. You could tell that the rain didn’t even matter. (I have a huge affinity for the rain because Stephen and I got married during a hurricane, so I truly do believe that it is not only romantic but also good luck. It says a lot about marriage – you really can ‘weather’ any storm together.) Nicole also did NOT let the rain stop her. I wish I had a picture of her wedding dress at the end of the evening because it was SOAKED but she didn’t let that stop her from having a good time.

Also, quick shout out to Melissa – please don’t ever leave me with your phone again and say, “Hey, can you just hang on to this for a second?” because I really feel like you were asking for the 100 selfies of me and every wedding guest.

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Meg, me, Alex, Lauren

Nicole posted one of her photographer’s photos the other day and I almost cried – the dress, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the scenery, her glow – it was all so magical! Here it is, courtesy of Modern Twist Photography (who were AMAZING, by the way – I never even knew that they were there!)

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Kathy, Nicole, Crista, Me – Modern Twist Photography

On Monday morning we got up at 4am – yes, runners are crazy, you should know this by now – to park at Aloha Stadium and hop on the shuttle to bring us to the start. To give you a little back story on the 8-mile Great Aloha Run, Nicole ran it for the first time in 2012. When she signed up, she wanted to raise money for Stand Up to Cancer in honor of my dad, who at the time was battling osteosarcoma. He passed away before the race, but she still ran it in her SU2C shirt and has run the race (and worn the shirt) every year since. When she told people that her wedding weekend wouldn’t be holding her back from lacing up on Monday morning, I was stoked. I knew that we would finally get the chance to race together, and thinking about how proud my dad would be made the experience even sweeter.

Around mile 2 a local flower shop handed out roses, since they probably have a lot of extras post-Valentine’s Day. Another business handed out clip-in flowers for your hair, which obviously I wore for the whole run. I also carried my rose until the very end. It was a great run, and while I hadn’t been training extensively for it, it was smooth and light. Truthfully, the best part was running with Nicole. It’s hard to find friends who are passionate about something like running (Nicole is a triathlete!) We pushed each other hard in the beginning to find a pace to hold, and then fell into a comfortable rhythm. At the end she told me it was time to crush it, so we did, and finished strong crossing the finish line in Aloha Stadium. I told Nicole at the beginning: I can run anytime, and I can race anytime, but I can’t always run and race with her. Aww. I know.

I took a red eye flight home, had a very disorienting layover in Dallas, and by the time I made it home I couldn’t wait to hug my husband and snuggle with my dog.

Obviously, the thing that I miss the most about Hawaii is Nicole. But those sunrises on the North Shore are a close second.

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Until next time,
Aloha. 

 

 

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