A few months late, but finally here I am… The month of March brings with it several reasons to celebrate. It signals the end of the winter, in other words, it’s pure joy. But better than that, we got married in March… the 7th to be exact, and four short days later it’s my birthday!  Some people don’t care about celebrating their birthday. I don’t “get” that. I am totally into it. So there you have it, March is a triple joy month. This year was our 15th wedding anniversary, which of course feels special, although at the risk of sounding a bit cheesy, each anniversary is very special to me.


If we both had to pick a place to celebrate life the way we love it, Hawaii would be it. We love everything about it,  the sun, being outside, playing golf in amazing courses, jogging along the coast. The North shore of Oahu is the closest spot to paradise for us. It has none of the commercial, touristic stuff of Waikiki, it’s a more pure and wild experience. So, that’s where we went to celebrate the date. It was a rather short visit, but we savored each moment.

This was the view from our room’s balcony at Turtle Bay…

One of the cool things we did was performing a major exorcism. An explanation is obviously needed. When I was 13 years old I went for a trip with my older sister Nyrma and her husband. They arranged a horseback riding session for me (the first of my life), but unfortunately it did not have a happy ending. It was with a group of teenagers from the hotel, most of them quite comfortable riding. To make a long story short, one of the teenage boys, trying to show off, started galloping real fast, and startled my horse.  All I remember is that my horse behaved like the one from Zorro, raised the front legs way up in the air, and took off like a maniac!  Soon we were far away from the group, I was hugging the neck of the horse for dear life, but then my saddle started to slip sideways! At some point I was pretty much hanging to one side, almost parallel to the ground, with my head passing just above the roof of cars parked on the side of the street. Yeah, the horse decided to gallop through town. I heard people on the sideways screaming “somebody help her! that little girl will fall”… Keep in mind that at age 13 I looked more like a 9-year-old… (sigh).  My crazy horse left town again, galloped some more, until he decided he’d had enough and stopped to munch on something by a tree. That’s when I finally fell off.  Let’s say that experience traumatized me quite a bit, and even though I love all animals, horses make me a bit nervous.  But I don’t like to sit on my fears. I’ve always wanted to turn the page and be able to ride a horse again. Thanks to Phil, I managed to finally go for it.

But first things first… I had to keep my composure  while getting close to the horses…. The instructor at the hotel made sure I got a very gentle horse (the thought of “famous last words” crossed my mind).


We were a group of 6 riders plus the instructor. I got to ride right behind her, and Phil following behind me. Talk about feeling safe… It was perfect. Midway through the ride,  I was comfortable enough to pose for a photo… The ride was slow, nice, and peaceful. Could not ask for more. Full disclosure: Phil said that when I first climbed on the horse my face was  as white as a Hawaiian cloud. Indeed, I toyed with the idea of jumping off and running back to the safety of our hotel room. But the horse was too tall and I did not want to risk breaking a leg or two. So I stayed up there, pretending all was fine. I’m glad I did. It felt great to overcome a major fear. Page turned. Next time, I want to go for a faster ride. HA!


Another fun part of our trip was paying a visit to the famous Banyan Tree….


I had high hopes of seeing Jonny Depp around, but no luck with that. No worries, I had my private George Clooney with me at all times. The tree is nothing short of magnificent. Everything you see in the picture is part of a single tree, it actually covers a huge area!


During the horseback riding, the guide led our group around the tree, but I took the picture the following day, when we went back for a walk around the area. They don’t like to advertise too much the location of the tree to try and protect it from vandalism, but if you find yourself near the North shore of Oahu, make sure to stop by.  Who knows, maybe Jonny Depp will show up and say hello…

As usual, we enjoyed great meals, mainly seafood in all its glory!

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But, the highlight of the trip was the celebration of our 15th anniversary!  Here is yours truly ready to party…


Our dinner at Pa’Akai was wonderful!  Sorry, no photos of our plates, it was such a romantic setting, I could not bring myself to break the atmosphere to snap photos. However, we did ask the waiter to take one of us as a souvenir of the special evening…



Until next time, Aloha!

ONE YEAR AGO: Light Brioche Burger Buns

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Blues

THREE  YEARS AGO: Headed to Hawaii

FOUR YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Hidden Treasure

SIX YEARS AGO: Avocado Three Ways


About a year ago, when we had no idea of the major life changes 2012 would bring, we planned a family vacation in one of our favorite spots in the planet: the north shore of Oahu.  The trip comes at a tricky time, smacked in the middle of a home and a lab move.  In fact, the lab move will happen 18 hours after our returning flight lands in Oklahoma. Crazy, I know… The plan is to charge our batteries during this coming week to be ready for what comes next.

We hope to revisit some of our great times in the past…

Enjoy time with the “kids”,  as we did in our trip back in 2007. Unfortunately Alex won’t join us, but it’s for a good reason: he is starting medical school!  Good luck, Alex, we’ll be thinking of you while sunbathing at Waiamea Beach…  😉

Go jogging in our favorite route by Sunset Beach…

Some will play golf…

Others will try hard to…  😉

Marvel at the sunset…

But mainly, just relax and enjoy some much needed time off

I’ve got some posts scheduled for publication while we are gone and during the  lab move (oh, my.. not looking forward to that one!),  but my ability to reply to comments or visit other blogs will be limited for a while… So, for now…




Have I made those?  No, I’ve never made sushi myself, and I doubt that I’ll ever attempt it. But, we love sushi, and it would  be crazy not to enjoy it here, in this Hawaiian paradise. Yes, we are in Hawaii,  the North Shore of Oahu… We love this place so much! With all due respect to Honolulu and Waikiki, nothing beats the aura of the North Shore. No shopping centers, no fancy restaurants, no  movie theaters, just the ocean, the white sandy beaches, the waves that can catch you by surprise and throw you around like a puppet… And the seafood, as fresh as you can dream it!

We had dinner at a small sushi place in  Hale’iwa, called Banzai Sushi Bar. Clockwise from top left you see a Bowl’s Roll (a California roll topped with shrimp and avocado), a Hawaiian roll (coconut shrimp in the center, macadamia nuts, mango and eel sauce on top), Bowls roll revisited, and the ahi tuna sashimi.

We are lucky enough to be very close to what we are told is “one of the best kept secrets in the North Shore”: a beach with no obvious entrance from the road. Apparently only folks living here know about it. From a bike path, you can see a small dirt path, that seems to lead nowhere…. But as you approach the end, big surprise…. a beach, almost deserted, particularly considering these pictures were taken on a Saturday morning!


I share with you a few photos, they can all be enlarged by clicking on them.

(clique e amplie!)

Look to your left….


Look to your right….


Look ahead into the ocean….



Some shots around a nice running route…