four seasons

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!

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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. :)

Room service at Dawn

Hi there! Happy Friday! Wanted to share a few more Instagram snapshots from my Sydney trip. One of my favorite mornings there we ordered a room service breakfast, promptly delivered at 6 am. Jetlag didn't really slow us down, it just had us going to bed early and waking up with the birds - which - actually turned out to be a gift. Watching the sunrise over Sydney harbor is quite breathtaking and enjoying a hot cup of tea in the snuggly hotel robe wasn't too shabby either...

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I have a thing for itty bitty jars - especially when they say "Made in Australia".

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What a magical way to start the day. I felt so grateful for this sweet indulgence.

Have a gorgeous weekend!

xo,

Ivy

Home again

Hi dear readers! Yes, I am home from beautiful Sydney and I'm still trying to take it all in. It is always a bit surreal when one day you are in another country and the next you are in your own bed. Always trips me out a bit. We actually got home a week ago but my family stayed on to celebrate Grace's 7th birthday...so...this is my first chance to sit down and post. I have dozens of photos and I promise not to unload them all at once but I thought today I would just share some of my favorite Instagram shots from the first day of our adventure.

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We landed at 6:07 am. Bright and early!  After enduring all the fuss of customs and luggage wrangling, we jumped into a cab and headed to the Four Seasons Hotel. Even though I was exhausted, my heart was beating fast with excitement! I was actually here. The view from our room brought me to tears. Of joy.

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Like good little travelers, we resisted the urge to stay in our room and sleep and instead went for a brisk walk in The Rocks district, discovered a sweet cafe, downed a few coffees and a tasty breakfast.

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The feeling of being back in Sydney was rather indescribable. Surreal, bizarre, overwhelming, exhilarating. I was overcome with gratitude that somehow, in a matter of a few days, my dream of returning to my birth city had been actualized. I was in Sydney, with my beloved husband, staying at a beautiful hotel and only hours away from seeing my childhood friends. To quote my dear Aussie friend Jo - "I was completely spun out!"

After a very short nap, we got up showered and felt somewhat human again. We had to seriously rally because we were off to the Opera Bar for sunset drinks with my mates!

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The Opera bar was swarming with people, all taking in the gorgeous view, the warm sun and of course the lovely drinks. I scanned the hundreds of people looking for familiar faces. The butterflies in my stomach raged and my trembling hands were doing their best to steady a glass of white wine. I was nervous and excited at the same time. What would it be like to see these girls after 19 years!?

Just when I thought that perhaps we arrived before them, two hands fell on my shoulders and spun me around. In front of me was two of my girls. Claire and Natalie. We screeched, laughed and embraced in one hysterical mess. I'm sure we looked crazy but we didn't care. Before I knew it, another two friends arrived with bottles of bubbles, warm hugs and endless giggles. While the champagne flowed, we caught up with one another like no time had passed at all.

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The night unfolded beautifully! We ended up at a sushi place where we were joined by another friend. Chris celebrated his birthday there - the actual day had been lost in time when we crossed the date line!

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After that we meandered the Rocks, linking arms, sharing stories old and new and laughing about high school memories. My heart was flooded with happiness.  It felt good to be home.

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Okay more to come - I will break it up a bit so I don't bore you to tears - I promise.

What have you been up to while I was away? Anyone else travel or start a new Spring project? Do tell.

xo,

Ivy