Santorini: Thira Views & Oia Sunsets

We had a fancy Michelin dinner that Monday night and the morning after, the 6 of us headed to Athens International Airport (ATH) to catch the first flight out to Santorini! Santorini was definitely the highlight of the trip (besides the wedding and baptismal) and came with all the travel shenanigans and mishaps possible.

Santorini Airport

We flew RyanAir and refused to check a bag (check-in baggage cost [X] Euro!) but you know I stuffed my little roller bag as much as possible. The flight attendants called me out and told me if I couldn’t shrink it a few more inches, I’d have to check it. We rearranged some stuff and made it work, got on the tram that took us out to our little plane and – surprise! – they made us check our bags anyway. It probably had something to do with us literally being the last ones to board, but I’m glad we didn’t have to pay that check-in bag fee.

The bakery we grabbed breakfast from.

The weather was a little gloomy when we arrived but we got our rental cars, went out to grab breakfast and hung out until our Airb&b was ready.

Most people stay in the infamous town of Oia (pronounced ee-ya) but we booked the cutest Airb&b in Thira. While waiting for check-in time, we wandered around the nearby city. One of my friends is a beer enthusiast and we scoped out the local beers at every little shop and restaurant we went to. One of the ones we noticed were these “donkey beers” and throughout our time in Santorini, we kept running into it. So much that we made it a mission to try one – the beers were from a small local brewery called the Donkey Brewing Co. (but more on that later.)

We finally checked in and oh. my gosh. The view was absolutely amazing. The pictures don’t even do it justice! We could see the active volcano, the tip of Oia, and the other side of the island. Sunsets and sunrises were beautiful. I swear I could’ve sat on that patio forever.

One of the things to do in Santorini is watch the sunset from Oia but instead of squishing amongst the crowd, we had reservations for dinner at Kastro’s Restaurant. I’m glad we did because we had this gorgeous unobstructed view of the sunset.

Kastro’s after sunset.

Sunset view from Kastro’s.

The crowd on the hillside was so thick we lost people heading to the restaurant. It was a little odd seeing so many people waiting for the sun to set, maybe it’s no big deal for someone like me who’s from Hawai’i, but as soon as the sun went down, everyone started clapping. You’d think there was a show going on! It was beautiful, nonetheless, but still, a little bit weird.

Obligatory group pic.

The restaurant was a small patio restaurant – I didn’t plan it, but I definitely recommend getting reservations ahead of time going there. Dinner was delicious, I shared mussels and beef pasta with a friend. We went home for a bit after dinner to rest, then headed back to Oia to wander and hang out.

Beef Pasta (forgot a pic of the mussels!)

There’s a winding cliffside pathway from Thira to Fira that takes you through the marketplace, which was really nice. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have found the way on my own, but yay for having a local tour guide!

Hanging out in Fira.

The first day/night was great, mostly because I couldn’t get over the fact that we were in Santorini! But more adventures, specifically beach-ventures, are on the way.

Definitely lived the life in Santorini!


Athens, Greece: The Acropolis & Stolen Statues

Almost anywhere you go, there’s a must-see tourist attraction and in Athens, it’s definitely the Acropolis. “Acropolis” in Greek translates to “highest point in the city” and while it’s not the only high point in Athens, it is the high point.

There are two ways you can get up to the Acropolis, the long way, which takes you through Ancient Greek civilization, or the short way, which takes you up a hill directly to the Parthenon and other main attractions. It was hot as hell that day so we opted for the short route. You do have to purchase tickets whichever route you choose, but be aware that the lines at the top can get super long. You can also purchase a guided tour, but we didn’t because we’re cheap and we were with a local.

Theatre of Dionysus
The theatre from a different angle

When you’re walking up to the Propylaea (the entrance), you can see the Theatre of Dionysus below. Be careful as you’re walking since the walkways are paved with marble and can be slippery! Luckily I wore my Sperry’s that day, but it was still a little slippery.

Most of the crew outside.
The Propylaea once you walk in.

We took some pictures in front of the Propylaea and then walked up through it. It’s pretty crazy that these buildings are thousands of years old and they’re completely made of marble!

The Parthenon

The Parthenon

Next in sight was the Parthenon – a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena (hence the city of Athens). They’re in the process of rebuilding the ruins so there were construction things all around.

The Erechtheion

Caddy corner to the Parthenon is the Erechtheion, another temple. One of the corners of the Erechtheion has women statues, called caryatid, as pillars. The caryatid we saw are actually replicas; most of the originals are housed in the Acropolis Museum.

Fun fact: one of the statues was stolen by the British and housed in the British Museum in London. According to my Greek friend, Greece asked that it be returned but the Brits refused! I even googled it and apparently, it’s true!

The Acropolis Museum

After taking a lot of pictures, we finally headed out and ended up at the Athens museum to wander around and cool down.

The original caryatid.

We saw the actual caryatid and got educated on the history of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. It’s pretty  amazing the level of detail the Greeks put into the buildings – everything from the pillars to the sheer size of the marble statues. You really have to appreciate the work they put in with their lack of technology.

I remember being a kid wondering if I would ever get travel. I would never have guessed that a little island girl like me would make it halfway around the world to the Acropolis, let alone Greece! God has definitely been good to me.


Destination Life

Aloha 2016

2016. Oh, what a year. 2016 marked my first full year in Texas and the longest I’ve gone without going home to my beloved Hawai’i nei. It’s been one helluva a year but I’m so ready for 2017.

I’m definitely a social media addict (typical millennial) and I love these dumb top 9 photos from your past year. (You can get yours here.) Obviously, my top 9 is reflective of my favorite things – travel, family, food, & fitness.

The highlights of every year are always my travel adventures – or when people travel to see me! Traveling was to a minimum in the beginning of the year since I was still getting settled into Dallas, but the itch to wander never leaves me and after NM, it was all downhill (or uphill) from there. This year I:

  • Had my entire family visit me in Dallas (May 2016)
  • Went to a wedding in Albequerque, New Mexico (June 2016)
  • Celebrated my sister’s engagement in Phoenix, Arizona (August 2016)
  • Visited with my BFFs in Portland, Oregon (August 2016)
  • Had my first Eurotrip to Kythira, Athens, & Santorini, Greece (September 2016) 
  • Worked and played at Dreamforce in San Francisco, California (September 2016)
  • Rode a wine trolley in Monterey, California (October 2016)
  • Met my dad and sister in Las Vegas, Nevada (November 2016)
  • Spent Christmas with a friend’s family in Austin, Texas (December 2016) 

I love my little adventures and I’m so grateful that I even have the means to do so many YOLO weekend trips and some extended trips.

I’ve met so many new people and kept in touch with lifelong friends. I even let go of some toxic relationships.

I was disenchanted by society but my faith in humanity was restored. (Still getting over how strongly Christians defend Trump’s misogynistic statements.)

I found a new hobby that I’m actually pretty decent at and started the Pineapple Shack X.O.

I had highs and lows in my faith  and questioned what I believe, but overall strengthened my relationship with the Lord.

I gained new confidence in my career and got that “new city, fresh start” I’ve been longing for the past few years.

In 2015, I told myself I’d be out of Arizona in 2016. Little did I know, I’d take the leap and end up in Texas. Overall, moving to a new city where I didn’t really know anyone was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s scary and nerve wracking but a complete adventure and I don’t regret it all.

2016, you were so horrible and great at the same time. As I say every year, Cheers to 2017! May this year be so better than the last.


Athens: The Parliament, A Guard & A Gyro

The Greek Parliament

The second leg of our trip was a day in Athens – the capital and largest city in Greece. Here’s the quick run down:

  • Ferry from Diakoftis, Kythira to Piraeus
  • Rode the metro to Syntagma Square
  • Took pictures with a guard outside of the Greek Parliament
  • Ate legitimate Gyros at Bairaktaris Tavern
  • Saw the Acropolis
  • Wandered around the Athens museum
  • Ate a fancy Michelin star dinner

Our tickets – they thought we were all related!

After all the festivities in Kythira, we took an overnight ferry from the port in Diakoftis to Piraeus in Athens. It was all kind of sketchy, but again, I was grateful to be with some locals. Auntie & Uncle (my friend’s parents) drove a car so we loaded all the goods in it and booked 2 cabins for all 8 of us (+ baby). Funny thing is Uncle refused to sleep in the cabin because he used to be a ship captain and didn’t trust the ferry captain! 

Our cabin on the ferry.

Waiting for a cab in in Athens.

We arrived bright and early to Piraeus,  close to 7 AM, brought our stuff to Auntie & Uncle’s apartment and got ready to explore Athens! We took the metro for the experience and surprisingly, I found it cleaner than most American public transportation. We got off at Syntagma Square and stopped for a picture with one of the guards in front of The Greek Parliament.

Me and the girls with the typical mirror selfie.

The metro station under Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square

I had no idea that the Greeks had their own guards, kind of like the guards outside of Buckingham Palace. Apparently, people gather outside the Parliament on the hour to watch the changing of the guards. The guards wear these big wooden shoes and stand completely still – you can’t even make funny faces when taking pictures next to them because the security for the guards will scold you! These guards are super special, they’re called the Evzones and one of the many qualifications needed to even be considered is they have to be very tall. I’m 5’2″ on my best day – look how tiny I am next to him!

Little old me with the guard.

Of course, the next thing we did was EAT! We had lunch at Bairaktaris Tavern, a restaurant that’s been around since the late 1800s and was featured by Andrew Zimmern from the Travel Channel. (I didn’t know this ’til afterwards). The restaurant is kind of in the middle of a shopping district close to the flea market and they have tables outside on the cobblestone walkway. I ordered a lamb gyro with fries in it and a frappe; the frappe is pretty much the closest thing they have to an iced coffee but there’s foam in it. I don’t know where they get their coffee from but it’s really strong – and this is coming from a self-proclaimed caffeine addict.

Bairaktaris Tavern

I’m ALWAYS happy to have food.

After lunch, we wandered through the flea market/shopping area but not before running into this huge Orthodox church. My friend told me his parents got married in this church! Me and the girls did a little shopping, of course, but to be honest, I kind of dislike shopping because most of the things I like end up being expensive and I really don’t need anything. Funny thing, I looked around a little jewelry shop and asked for the price of a necklace in the display – it ended up being over 1000 euros! (O____O) I talked to the shop owner for a bit and he said, “I can tell you have expensive tastes.” Truth be told, sometimes I wish I didn’t! He also mistook me for a Leo (I’m a Pisces) which I thought was kind of funny because I don’t think I’m alpha at all!

Outside of the church.

After wandering around the market, we finally trekked up to the Acropolis, but I will save that, the museum and the Michelin dinner for another post!

Destination Life

A Small Fat Greek Wedding (& Baptismal)

greekwedding_The handsome couple.

The main purpose of our Greek trip was to be there for a wedding and baptismal! I’ve been friends with my friend MJ since we were in middle school so much so that her family really feels like my own. When she told me her sister would be getting married in Greece and asked if I’d like to come, I didn’t even hesitate! I love weddings and I love the couple – it’s so obvious how much they love each other.

He said, “That dress is amazing!”

To be honest, I’ve never watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but attending a Greek wedding was quite an experience. I spent the morning tagging along running last minute errands while the bride got her hair done. I got ready and it was finally time for the ceremony at the Church of Agios Spyridonas in Kalokerines.

Giant candles at the altar.

I guess it’s part of Greek tradition, but when everyone is driving up to the church, they honk their horns incessantly while someone is shooting a shot gun in the air – it’s crazy! But the energy is so much fun! You can just tell there’s a celebration going on. The mass was held in a small Greek Orthodox Church (Kalokerines) but before we all walk in, the bride was walked to the door by her father-in-law.

The bridal party at the altar.

The mass was entirely in Greek and I really wish I understood what was happening, but regardless, it was a great experience. (Now I can say I’ve been to a Greek wedding!) Orthodox mass reminded me a lot of Catholic mass but several different things happen during the ceremony. The bride and groom walked around the altar 3 times, the maid of honor had these wire crowns tied together with a ribbon and would alternate back and forth between the bride and groom, and the best man and maid of honor also walked around the altar with them. I also noticed they put the wedding rings on the right hand instead of the left and everything happens in threes. At the end of the ceremony, there were a ton of pictures! And when the couple left the church, we three rice at them.

The crowns being alternated.

But that wasn’t all for the day! We went straight from the church in Kalokerines to the Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiosa in Myrtidiosa. It was kind of crazy being in a monastery but the inside of the church was absolutely gorgeous. It always amazes me how beautiful and detailed old churches are.

Walking into the monastery courtyard.

The church steeple.
The courtyard outside of the church.

When you walk into the church there’s a sandbox of thin candles. After some research, it seems like you light a candle when you walk in the church as a little prayer and remembrance of Jesus.

Candles in the sandbox.

How crazy is the detail in the church?!

I always wonder how they painted the ceilings back in the day.

Me sitting in the chair along the wall in the church.

The Orthodox baptism actually reminded me of Catholic baptism, too, but there were different traditions. I think what a lot of people who aren’t religious don’t understand, is that all the traditions or things that are done have a meaning behind it. Sometimes even religious people don’t care enough to find out, but I love learning the symbolism of things.

In baptism, the godfather plays a huge role. Ideally, the godfather is the main person in the ceremony and the parents are supposed to stand back and watch, he even brings the baby basket with the baby’s white baptismal dress. The ceremony starts at the entrance, really similar to the wedding, then eventually they move to the altar. The baby is then stripped and covered in oil and dipped three times in the water. Poor kid, she was screaming bloody murder! I know baptism means different things for different religions and I’m not sure what it means in the Orthodox religion, but it’s still beautiful. I noticed in the Greek Orthodox religion, they like to do things in threes. The also cut off the baby’s hair three times and I think I remember them walking around the altar three times.

After the ceremony, the baby is dressed in her baptism dress and there are of course food and pictures! While we were heading out of church, the church bells were ringing because the high priest and the other priests were heading into the church.

Following the food celebration, we had more food! We drove from Myrtidiosa to Kapsali to have dinner at Lemoni. Even though it was a small party, maybe less than 50 of the newlywed’s close family and friends, the Greeks sure know how to celebrate. Got to experience an authentic Greek toast OPA! and teach them the Hawaiian toast CHEEHUU and just eat, drink and be merry with some amazing people. I may or may not have had a LOT of fun but I am so grateful that I got to experience a little Greek wedding.

Me and one of my BFFs at the wedding.

Friends who are like family! <3

With the handsome couple.


The Underdog Greek Island: Kythira

Where Kythria is in Greece

First stop on our Greek trip was the island of Kythira in southeastern Greece. When most people think about Greece, they think about the blue domes of Santorini, the Acropolis in Athens, or even the pristine beaches of Mykonos. I don’t think I would have ever gone to Kythira, let alone known about it if my friends hadn’t had their wedding and baptized their baby there.

Arriving in Kythira like a hot mess!

Kythira is gorgeous and I absolutely loved that it wasn’t filled with tourists. It’s about an hour flight from Athens and only has one flight in and out everyday. Its tiny little airport reminded me of the old school inter island terminals in Hawai’i.

How small the Kythira airport is.

Before I get into the gory details, a quick outline of our few days in Kythira:

My first legitimate Greek meal.

After traveling for almost 24 hours from Texas, USA to Kythira, Greece, we arrived at Kythira National Airport and stopped by a cute little street cafe for a bite to eat and my first taste of Tsipouro/Raki – a Greek liquor made from grapeseeds. (It’s seriously reminiscent of rubbing alcohol.. I actually really liked it.)

Street view from the little cafe.

We finally made it to Kalokerines at my friend’s family’s summer home. It was definitely quite an experience seeing Kythira and Greece from a local view. My friend’s mother was from Kythira and they spent many holidays visiting the island. Their summer house had been built within the last few years. The shutters and doors were the cleanest light blue.

Our room for the first night!

Since there were so many of us flying in for the celebration, I stayed the second night in a rental home down the road called Violetta. I was in love with how cute the house was. The house was split into four individual apartments. I hadn’t seen the top floor since we only had the bottom two, but each apartment/room its own bathroom and mini kitchen.


The corner where the apartment I stayed in was.

As much as we wanted to hit the ground running, we were exhausted and jet lagged from 18+ hours of traveling and we knocked out for a few hours. I swear my eyelids never felt heavier but we didn’t wanna waste any time in Greece! We went to what I think was downtown Kythira to hang out for a while.

Downtown Kythira

The next morning, we had to pick up more friends/family from the airport but not before making a quick stop in Avlemonas to jump into the Bath of Aphrodite. I loved that place so much, I made a separate post about it!


Bath of Aphrodite

After we picked everyone up and they got settled in, we went to Perissa Beach. Perissa is a black sand beach with huge grains of sand – they felt more like tiny rocks than sand! It’s quite an adventure getting there. There’s a dirt road heading there that winds down towards the beach – thankfully I was not driving or we all would have been in trouble!

Perissa Beach

Sunset from Perissa

The next day was the wedding and baptismal – which I’ll also write about in a separate post – and the following day was a trip to Kapsali for lunch and a stop at Diakoftis.

Drive to Kapsali

Beach at Kapsali

Cobblestone walkway in Kapsali

Kapsali is a little beach area with a few restaurants and coffee shops lined up on a cobblestone road along the beach. Diakoftis or Koftis Beach was a more touristy spot; it’s also really close to the harbor where you can catch a ferry to Athens or the other islands. The beach itself was more of a lagoon since it was enclosed by a long rock wall. The water was SOO unbelievably clear – I could walk out pretty deep and still see my toes!

Drive down to Diakoftis Beach/Harbor

Diakoftis Beach

Kythira island for me was like the underdog no one was expecting to win. Santorini is amazing, too, but I just loved the laid back feel and really felt like I was relaxed and on vacation. Definite must sees for me are the Bath of Aprhodite and Kapsali! But that’s not even it from my Greek trip – stay tuned for Athens and Santorini!

Destination Europe Greece

My Favorite Spot in Greece: Bath of Aphrodite

bathsofaphroditeRecent travels really got me thinking about how much travel really feeds my soul and how awesome it is that I’m pretty well traveled – I think so anyway. My last post was about the YOLO Trip, but my most recent trip was a planned ahead 10 day trip to Greece – which was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! My first time ever in Europe (definitely not my last) with great company and a real local tour of part of the country. I kind of prefer not traveling alone for the sheer fact that you have someone to share the experience with, but traveling with 6 was like multiplying the awesome-ness. Our first stop on the trip was to an island in Southeastern Greece called Kythira – see map below:


After being awake for roughly 24 hours but finally arriving to Kythira, we napped pretty hard before hanging out for a while at a bar in “downtown Kythira.” The next morning we went to my favorite spot that we visited the whole trip – The Bath of Aphrodite in Avlemonas. Avlemonas is on the eastern side of the island and I love that it was a hidden gem. No tourists, no crowds to battle – nothing but the clear blue ocean.


Not to mention that the bath itself was SERIOUSLY unreal.



According to – The Bath of Aphrodite was the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love. This was probably my favorite ocean spot of the whole trip, I wished we could’ve stayed longer or even gone again. The water was warm and crystal clear – you could see little fishies swimming around and even the coral on the bottom. There’s no sand, so you literally just jumped from a rock into the sea. Where we were, it wasn’t really deep either which was a big plus because if you know me, you know I don’t swim very well!


Next to the bath there was a little string of cafés and restaurants. I loved that it wasn’t super touristy or crowded. I wish I could describe in words how gorgeous it was – as beautiful as the pictures are its even better in person.


I spent 10 days in Greece and even though we probably spent the shortest time here, it was most definitely my favorite stop. I’m almost 2 months late posting my Greek trip, but hey, better late than never, right?