Oahu Adventures Part 2: Sisters Unite for More Fun!

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Oahu Adventures Part 2: Sisters Unite for More Fun: Join us as we continue our Oahu sister adventure, sisters uniting for more fun and unforgettable memories!

Oahu Adventures: Sister Unite for More Fun!

Welcome back to Part 2 of our Oahu sister-trip, where the adventures continue and the memories keep on growing!

Today, you’ll get even more tips about spending a lovely and exciting trip in paradise. Plus, you’ll get a peek into what DeeDee and I did on the second half of our trip!

chinaman's hat in the Pacific Ocean

If you missed Part 1 of our trip, take a look at Sister Trip Part 1: Exploring the Best of Oahu Together! You’ll discover the reasons behind our sister-trip and glean valuable tips on why and how to set-out on your own sister-adventure! (Also, I just updated Part 1 with a collage photo including a monster that met us at the International Marketplace! Scroll down to the end of Day Three to feast your eyes on the beast!)

Let’s get right into Day 4 of our trip on the gorgeous and spectacular island of Oahu!

Day Four Oahu Sister Adventure

On day four of our Oahu sister adventure, we kicked things off with another delicious breakfast at Moena Cafe, followed by a lovely stroll through Foster Botanical Garden, and topped it off with another round of shopping at Ala Moana Center!

Visiting Paradise in the City: Foster Botanical Gardens

While navigating towards Foster Botanical Garden, DeeDee and I kept saying, “Do you really think we’re going in the right direction? This seems like we’re in the middle of the city!”

Nestled amidst bustling downtown Honolulu, the expansive 14-acre oasis feels like a glimpse of Heaven. It provides a perfect sanctuary away from the city’s everyday hubbub.

oahu sister adventure palm trees in botanical garden
Upon entering the garden.

The Foster boasts being the oldest botanical garden in Honolulu, as well as having some of the oldest trees in Hawaii.

Do you see DeeDee in this photo?

oahu sister adventure huge tree with woman standing in front of it

Talk about an old tree!

Not DeeDee… the actual tree!

I’m sure there are epic redwoods in California, but the massive size of this tree was simply breathtaking!

Since it was just the beginning of spring, we were greeted by a few blooming flowers, though not in abundance just yet.

collage of tropical flowers in white and lavender

Stepping into the orchid house, we were met with sweet aromas that rivaled the most luxurious perfumes!

bright purple orchid
We found the most fragrant orchids were the ones with ruffled petals.

Feathered Friends

Do you enjoy bird-watching? It wasn’t something I was into until I started homeschooling my children. We’d frequently visit the local wetlands and nature centers, where we learned to create nature notebooks complete with sketches of our feathered friends.

During our visit to Foster Botanical Garden, we were excited and surprised to spot a white-rumped shama (the bird on the left).

oahu sister adventure collage of birds

The shama, native to Southeast Asia, was first introduced on Kauai in 1931 and later brought to Oahu about a decade later, where it has since become well established.

The bird on the right is a red-crested (or Brazilian) cardinal. These are pretty common in Oahu, but aren’t they gorgeous? Both birds are listed on a bird guide sheet provided upon entrance to the garden.

Special Trees at Foster Botanical Garden

The leaves/flowers of this tree were extremely hard to photograph, but there is a reason I wanted to share this. It is a Triplaris americana, simply known as an Ant Tree .

oahu sister adventure branches of ant tree in the sky

The distinctive “wings” of this fruit are actually sepals, designed to carry the seeds on the wind. When dropped from a height, they spin gracefully as they fall. This tree, native to the American tropics, provides sap to feed ants, enticing them to inhabit and safeguard it from predators.

Check out what happens when DeeDee drops one of the sepals from above her head.

It is quite ethereal to watch. 🙂 And my grandkids thought it was super cool!

Another tree that was utterly fascinating was the Cannonball tree.

collage of cannon ball tree, pods, and flowers

The Cannonball tree’s fruit, edible but not tasty, looks just like cannonballs and they can be very heavy (so don’t stand under a tree with LOTS of fruit). In warm regions like Oahu, it blooms with beautiful flowers that resemble pink or red lanterns and emit a strong and lovely fragrance. This tree even shares its sap with ants, who live on it and protect it from pests.

5 More Reasons to Visit Foster Botanical Garden:

  • Step into a taste of paradise! You’ll find beautiful trees, plants, birds, butterflies, and flowers everywhere, making it a peaceful escape from city life.
  • See and learn about really amazing plants/trees from all over the world, like big palm trees and colorful orchids.
  • This garden has been around since 1853, so it’s full of history! You can learn a lot about Honolulu and how important gardens are.
  • It’s the perfect place to take a casual walk. The paths are easy to find, and there are ponds and shady spots where you can just relax.
  • Learn even more! Tours and workshops are offered where you can find out more about plants, conservation, and why it’s important to take care of Hawaii’s special environment.

When we visited the garden, we experienced the highest outdoor temps of our whole trip. After about 1-2 hours of exploring, which included several shaded rest periods for me, we drove for about 10 minutes for another trip to the Ala Moana Center.

Second Trip to Ala Moana Center

The second trip to Ala Moana included walking almost the whole shopping center, taking in all the unique shops, and more fun dining spots.

We discovered a HUGE candy and treat store called “It’Sugar” (nope, that is NOT a typo).

DeeDee was looking for pineapple Jelly Bellys, but to no avail. (I actually found packages of tropical Jelly Bellys at the local Don Quixote store, which included the pineapple flavor, which made Deeds a very happy camper.)

woman sitting on bench with statue of jelly belly mascot
DeeDee also ended up purchasing a Peep’s brand pillow set for her adult daughter who is a fan.

Then we made our traditional stop at the Honolulu Cookie Company.

These yummy shortbread cookies have a distinct flavor and texture because they are made with macadamia nuts.

oahu sister adventure honolulu cookie company stand in mall with people around it shopping

From hand-dipped chocolate cookies, to tropical fruit flavors, one of their signature cookies is the Kona flavor. They are all delicious!

For the first time ever, my budget allowed me to bring a gift home for each of my brother’s families, as well as my children and a few friends. Everyone received a box of Honolulu Cookies!

After shopping, we had dinner at Goma Tei Ramen. DeeDee enjoyed a plate of yummy fried rice, while I was served the curry udon noodles. It was delicious!

Then back to the condo, and what??? Do I even have to say? (It wasn’t playing cards, as we yet again planned to do that morning. You’ll know if you read Part 1 of our Oahu Sister trip.)

Day Five Oahu Sister Adventure

On the fifth day of our Oahu sister adventure, we decided to revisit one of our favorite spots, as well as explore a local artisan fair. But first, breakfast at our beloved Hawaiian Aroma Cafe!

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace

Day five of the trip landed on a Saturday, the BEST day to go to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace!

image of Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace

So, this happened to be the second hottest day of our trip! Ugh… we did our best to schedule outdoor activities on cooler days, but it seems the Lord had different plans in mind.

And did I mention that I was dealing with a bum knee the whole trip?

While caring for Mom in hospice, I made sure to be extra cautious with my back. However, my legs and knees ended up taking the strain, and my left knee started to hurt and pop out of its socket. I managed a few visits to the chiropractor before the trip, so it could have been worse, but it still wasn’t feeling 100%. Thankfully, with the help of medication and staying active each day during the trip, I started to feel better. Praise God!

But, I digress.

Getting Deals at the Swap Meet

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is THE place to get many quality items, oftentimes only found in Hawaii, at a great price!

Oops! Neither DeeDee nor I managed to snap a single photo during our three-hour shopping spree. But, let me give you the lowdown on what I bought.

  • All canvas baseball caps for the oldest grandsons that included a turtle on one, and a pineapple on the other. I purchased these from two separate vendors, and I had seen the same ones at Dole Plantation for 2-3 times what I paid for these!
  • Hawaiian print dress for my 4-year-old granddaughter.
  • Bamboo stickers for each of the grands to put on their water bottles (I think only one of them actually put it on their water bottle… LOL!) These were super unique, and I didn’t see them anywhere else.
  • I bought a pair of opal plumeria earrings, similar to ones I lost 12 years ago, from a longtime swap meet jewelry vendor we trust. Unfortunately, after wearing them, my ears got really irritated, possibly due to nickel in the sterling silver, that I’m sure the vendor was unaware of. I’m glad I only paid $28, knowing the opals were likely not genuine. Do you have any solutions for earring allergy issues like this?

DeeDee’s purchases included 14K gold pineapple earrings, coconut purses for her grands (since she couldn’t find pineapple shaped purses), and Hawaiian print car seat covers that they regularly purchase from the same Christian sister each time they need them.

Locals Artisan Fair

Next, we took a 30-minute drive to attend a local artisan fair that we had discovered on the internet.

This fair was quite small… maybe 40 vendors, if that. There wasn’t too much that piqued our interest, except for this…

oahu sister adventure enamel pins on laptop bag strap

These enamel pins are displayed on my laptop bag strap. I purchased the typewriter years ago and it reminds me of the reason I blog. The middle one is from my niece who knows I collect vintage Pyrex in THAT particular print.

The fuschia colored Protea flower pin, purchased at the artisan fair, will always remind me of our sister-trip to Oahu. DeeDee purchased a similar one, only it was a plumeria (her fave Hawaiian flower). These were our ‘sister-trip reminders’.

Lunch on Day 5

On the way back from the artisan fair, we decided to stop at the Heavenly Island Lifestyle restaurant for a light lunch.

Can you tell we were tired? We hardly talked at this meal. The sun had zapped all our energy!

sisters sitting in a restaurant and picture of full meal

But the meal DID revive me! It was one of the best meals I had in Oahu with locally grown farm-fresh ingredients, and a lovely view of a harbor!

The plate included an arugula and beet salad, mini acai bowl, homemade English muffin, and a carrot shot! All this for just $16!!!! It was the most affordable meal of the whole trip!

Next we headed back to the condo, to take a much needed nap and work/play on our computers.

Dinner at Red Lobster

I know, I know… WHY in the WORLD would we go to a big chain restaurant while we were in Paradise?

Because we could! LOL!

Red Lobster is one of DeeDee’s favorite restaurants and, believe it or not, I had never visited a RL. So, since the restaurant was located on the first floor of our condo building, we walked down and had a lovely meal!

The place was hoppin’, and DeeDee said the seafood and produce was the best she had ever had at a Red Lobster! It was quite yummy (their coconut shrimp was much tastier than Duke’s… just sayin’!)

Then, it was back upstairs to the condo, to play cards? Nope… we were too pooped to pop!

So what did we do? Can we all say it together??? “KDRAMAS!” 😛

Day Six Oahu Sister Adventure

Our last full day in Oahu and we wanted to, at the very least, get our feet wet. Plus, we wanted to hit some important shopping spots we missed on our first visit! So, it was off to the North Shore, again!

Breakfast on Day Six

Before leaving the Waikiki area, we decided to head out a bit earlier and make a stop at a Hawaiian breakfast icon. Our first destination was the Hawaiian Aroma Cafe to grab our favorite Americanos!

And then, on to Leonard’s!

oahu sister adventure two women in front of Leonard's building and image of malasada.

Under Leonard’s pink and white striped awning-flag, visitors and locals alike are beckoned to indulge in a delightful breakfast treat: a light and fluffy Portuguese donut filled with a rich, yet moderately sweet, custard of chocolate, coconut, guava, and more!

The dobash (chocolate) malasada with a cup of Aroma coffee was the perfect start to my favorite day on our Oahu sister-trip!

You can read more about Leonard’s on their site, and take a look at their tasty menu, too!

Off to the North Shore (Again)

As we were driving to the North Shore, we often saw these common weeds growing along the highway. I looked at DeeDee and said, “That isn’t corn, is it?”

She said, “No! At least I don’t think it is!”

oahu sister adventure image of corn-like weeds on side of highway

Can you tell we were born and raised in So Cal??? I actually first noticed these weeds on Day Three of our Oahu sister-adventure.

Quite a few times when we would see them, I would say, “Look at all the ‘cone’!” (with a little Julian accent), and DeeDee would giggle every time. If she hadn’t giggled every time, I would have stopped saying it. But, I just can’t pass up a chance to make someone laugh, especially my siblings. 😀

Crossing over the Anahulu Stream, the Rainbow Bridge’s double arches are reminiscent of God’s icon of His promise to never completely flood the Earth again. The bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of Hale’iwa.

rainbow bridge at the North Shore Oahu

The arches are often seen on graphic tees, hats, and tote bags.

More Time In Hali’iwa

For the second time, we stopped in Hale’iwa to do some last minute shopping we had missed earlier on our trip.

I usually don’t frequent high-end jewelry boutiques, but while DeeDee stopped in at the Quiksilver store, I decided to visit I am Paradise – The Pearl Shop. After shopping for bit, DeeDee joined me, and we were both impressed by Denny Wong’s designs.

After some encouragement from DeeDee, I couldn’t resist these beauties!

silver plumeria earrings

The photo doesn’t do them justice (here’s what they actually look like!). The plumerias are sterling silver with platinum and rhodium ear clasps. The center is a white sapphire and the petals are brushed to give just a bit of sparkle. We loved all of Denny Wong’s designs.

This was definitely the ‘splurge’ item for myself, and I have no regrets! I wear them all the time!

Then we were off to circle around the rest of North Shore!

oahu sister adventure collage of Hawaii beach photos

We took our time, and stopped along the way to take photos of the beautiful blue ocean and pale brown beaches.

The array of blues and greens in the ocean are amazing, as well as the bright blue skies! What an awesome Creator our God is!

deep blue sky and ocean view in Hawaii with black rock

Look at all that ‘cone’!

oahu sister adventure image of corn-like weeds on side of highway

Did you giggle? Okay, I’ll stop.

The expanse of the vibrant blue sky and the quiet beaches are very foreign to us. It’s like being in another country.

Pacific ocean beach in Hawaii

Visiting Kaneohe Bay

We arrived at Chinaman’s Hat and got out of the car. I wish we had brought chairs because the beach had very few people and the weather was PERFECT for just sitting in the sun and taking a snooze, chatting, or reading a book.

collage of Chinamen's Hat Beach with woman in photo pointing to the isla

There were people paddling boat’s out to the island.

oahu sister adventure views of Chinaman's hat

To the left of the beach was this lush mountain range. Just lovely!

We did dip our feet and legs in the water, but unfortunately, I got bitten by something! I only realized it when we got in the car, and scratching my ankle immediately caused extreme pain. The area around the bite turned a purple-red color, and there was even a purple hue wrapping around my ankle. It took over two weeks for it to completely heal! So strange!

Here’s a video showing how crystal clear the water is!

Just gorgeous, right?

chinaman's hat in the Pacific Ocean

We spent a lot of time here, just enjoying God’s creation.

oahu sister adventure photo of two women at chinaman's hat

Next Stop Lanikai

We eventually tore ourselves away from Kaneohe Bay, as DeeDee wanted to stop at Lanikai Bath and Body in Kailua. This is where DeeDee purchases all her hand lotions, and we both love their car diffusers. If you are interested in their car diffusers, call the store and ask them which are the strongest scents… trust me, you’ll want to purchase those.

Linner in Kailua

After stopping at a few more shops in the area, we found another Teddy’s Bigger Burgers and decided to have a late lunch. This Teddy’s was even better than the first we visited earlier in Hale’iwa, and we both splurged on a hand-crafted shake!

Then we headed for home, but made a quick stop at Foodland for more sushi (like the first night of our trip).

And, I won’t tell you what we did in the evening at the condo. You know.

Day Seven Oahu Sister Adventure

At 12:00am, DeeDee woke up to adjust the thermostat in the room and realized that the power/electricity was out.

We had a very humid and warm night’s sleep for the last night of our Oahu sister adventure!

And when we woke up in the morning, the power was still out! We had to get ready for the airport in the dark!

Friends… I NEVER go out without styling my hair. No makeup since 2020? No problem. But, I ALWAYS do my hair.

Well, the Lord had other plans!

woman with gray hair smiling

The tousled-look it was (as well as no makeup). My hair never completely dried until we were on the plane. The humidity was at an all-time high for the week… at least that’s what it felt like to me!

So, we got everything ready and in the car. We were headed home early on the seventh day of our trip!

And, of course, we made one more visit to Hawaiian Aroma Cafe (to say our good-byes 😉 ) before heading to the Honolulu Airport.

Our Hearts Are Blessed

Both DeeDee and I THOUGHT that 7 days away was a perfect amount. But, when we got home, we realized that a couple more days would have been even more perfect. However, we are content, and our trip was a huge blessing and memory we will never forget!

The day before we left Oahu, I asked DeeDee, “So, did I get on your nerves at all this week?” She replied, “Not one bit. How ’bout me with you?” I returned her sentiments with, “No, not at all!”

We realized during and after our Oahu sister adventure how fun it was to be on the same page… to want to visit the same restaurants several times, to want to “shop-’til-we-dropped”, to listen to Hawaiian music the whole time we were there, and to watch K-Dramas together every night! Even to share tears and thoughts about Mom together.

It was a wonderful trip! I’m blessed to have a sister that is by my side through the hard times and good times, and especially as we give grace to each other while our Lord continues to sanctify and complete us in Him!

And guess what we did on the plane ride home?

We played cards! 😉

signature updated 2022
all the freebies!


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  1. What a perfect ending to your trip! So happy you and your sister were able to have such a special time together! It must be wonderful to have a sister. God gave me brothers instead. ( I am not complaining; my brothers are great.)
    Suzanne from PA

    1. I’m very thankful that I have a sister, and we are both walking with the Lord. I have two brothers, as well! 🙂 Whenever I see your “Suzanne from PA” I sigh… you know how I love PA! 😉

      1. Aw, thanks! There is some beautiful country here with lots of history. You have a majestic ocean there. God sure blessed us both!
        The Lord bless you today and everyday,
        P.S. I may not have gotten a sister, but the Lord has given me many wonderful Christian sisters.

  2. That really does sound like such a wonderful trip! I got into bird watching while homeschooling too; my middle son was big into all animals/birds/nature things and had tons of guidebooks he was already read “just for fun!” That botanical garden looks beautiful and you just can not beat those gorgeous ocean views.

    1. Your nature studies sound very similar to ours, Joanne. I loved hsing my kids, and I’m blessed that both of them are doing the same with their children! My mom hsed us, too, so we have 3 generations of homeschoolers! Thanks for commenting, and for visiting the post!

  3. Kinda like the tousled hair! Lovely, lovely recollections of your sister trip! Aren’t we blessed to have sisters!?

    1. LOL! I actually didn’t hate it, and being 59 years old, I’m at a point where I don’t care… and I couldn’t care anyways! Yes, sisters are blessing!

  4. Great pictures and such a lovely adventure for you and DeeDee. So glad you got to experience it together. The earrings are so lovely and they look even better in person. Thank you for sharing your beautiful trip!

    1. I know… I couldn’t get a good photo of the earrings for the life of me! Oh well! Thanks for commenting and checking out the post, dear friend!

  5. Sounds like such a lovely time with your sister. I have 4 sisters and we try to have “sister week” once a year. I would love to be able to go to Hawaii with our youngest sister who was born there and has never been back. I have been twice and the second was on the cruise to the different islands…that was wonderful to see the other islands and which ones we would like to go back to…they are all beautiful with different experiences! We even climbed Diamond Head…that was 10 years ago and doubt I could do it now . Such wonderful memories you have and thank you for sharing. I brought back many for me!

    1. Oh, thank you for sharing your memories, Susan. A cruise?!!! That would be amazing! Yeah, I could NOT do hikes at this point. Maye if I lost a bit of weight? 😉

  6. The photography is fantastic and I wish I could frame some of these lovely scenes. I am so happy for you & Dee Dee for this once in a lifetime excursion.

      1. I am not up to par and the Dr. said I will not get back to how I was. I say watch me. It is going to be a long haul but I will get much better. I am going to be 83 next month & with my arthritis I would not be able to climb those lovely mountains but would love to see them from afar. You & Dee DEE look like you had the best of time & maybe will get to go back again as you both are so young.

        1. I’m praying for you, Fernie! We’ll see what the Lord has planned for future trips. I never thought I would EVER travel like I have the last 4 years. God’s amazing provision of giving, giving, and more giving.

  7. Look on Amazon for pierced earring post protectors. Plastic tubes that go over metal post. Glad you had such a good trip.

  8. Sounds like you had such a wonderful trip. The botanical gardens look amazing, especially that tree! I’ve heard so many stories about all of the orchids in Hawaii. I would love to see them. I’m surprised it was so warm and humid so early in the year. I wonder what it will be like in summer. The beach is beautiful. I wonder what could have stung you in the water. That’s scary.

    1. I never knew orchids had such rich fragrance until I visited an orchid room in PA! For most of the week, it was very pleasant. And, I have to say, I’m a sissy about humidity. I dislike heat above 77, and I just don’t like humidity. I tend to sweat, whether I’m thin or… not thin. LOL!

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