This past week, we headed to Oahu to celebrate my best friend Mica's 30th birthday. We packed a lot of stuff in for a week -- everything from beach time, snorkeling, cliff jumping, a few secret hikes (thanks to my friend Michelle), a sunrise, a sunset cruise, a waterfall, and ate tons of good food...all with great friends and family.

Immediately after landing, we headed to the North Shore for some garlic shrimp from Giovanni's Shrimp Truck (so yum!). We met up with the rest of the group at Waimea Bay and snorkeled a little bit to test out our new Nikon AW1 waterproof camera. With all the people jumping off Waimea Rock, three of the guys decided to give it a go. The rock sits about 30 feet high above water that's only about 10 feet deep. It was awesome to see locals showing off their skills and doing crazy flips off the rock into the water below. 

The next morning, we met up with one of my best friends from college, Michelle. We studied abroad in Bonn, Germany, in 2005, and traveled all over Europe together. We got an early start to hike the Lanikai Pill Box Trail to watch the sunrise. Sound carries from up on the ridge all the way down to the beach. Some residents have apparently complained that early in the morning they sometimes hear people yelling "Wake up, Lanikai!!" The view was worth the 4am wakeup call.

After our sunrise hike, we headed to Boots and Kimo's for a hearty breakfast. Oh yes, corn beef hash, short ribs, Portuguese sausage, banana macadamia pancakes, fried rice, and bacon were all present. Next, we did another short hike to Likeke Falls and some of the girls got eaten alive by mosquitos, but it definitely was worth it and super refreshing to be under the waterfall! 

Staying in the Ko'Olina area on the west side of the island had its benefits. There weren't a ton of people out and about, and the beaches weren't crowded. Yes, the lagoons are man-made, but they were still just as relaxing and beautiful.

For Mica's birthday, we ended up having dinner in Chinatown called The Pig and The Lady. Again...an another awesome restaurant. We shared a bunch of different plates and everything was so delicious - bone marrow, green papaya salad, chicken pho, pork belly, chicken fat fried rice, chicken fat fried bread, Laotian fried chicken (a must!), and crab fat curry (a MAJOR must!). 

The next few days were spent on the beach, a catamaran sunset cruise (that we nearly missed because of all the traffic in Waikiki), and a visit to nearby Paradise Cove to swim with some sea turtles.

Usually, on the last day of a trip, we tend to wake up late, check out and head to the airport. Not this trip! Instead, we woke up early, met Michelle for breakfast at Koko Head Cafe and went on a short hike to Koko Head Arch. All trips should end like this -- with amazing views with your best friends! Until next time, Hawaii!