AMERICA!

In honor of our country turning 236 years old, I thought it would share some awesome things that are made in the shape of the 48 contiguous United States (sorry Hawaii and Alaska)!

Bookshelves in the shape of the states

Skillets in the shape of the states

License plate map of all 50 states

And just cause this is awesome, a footprint shaped pool!

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photos from here, here, here, and here.

30 Days to Hawaii: Leaving on a Jet Plane!

Countdown is finally done. See ya’ll when I get back!

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photo from here.

30 Days to Hawaii: Brief Itinerary

ALOHA.

oahu.
oahu.
maui.
maui.
maui.
maui.
oahu.
oahu.
oahu.

ALOHA.

Yu Live, Yu Learn

30 Days to Hawaii: And the Winner Is…

Guess I’m going to Maui!

I recently asked a ton of people if I should go to Maui or Kauai, and I got a great amount of feedback. Those who go to Hawaii often have told me Kauai, as it offers more of a paradise than Maui. In fact, most people who have been to both Maui and Kauai have told remarked on how beautify Kauai is, and how I should definitely go.

Two reasons why I chose Maui:

  1. I’ve only been to Hawaii once, and I only went to Honolulu. This time around, I want to get the full tour of Hawaii, which in my case, includes seeing touristy places as well as the secluded alcoves. Both Maui and Kauai have an abundance of these secret spots, but only Maui has the nightlife, attractions, and resort-style beaches that I want.
  2. Destiny had been to Kauai but she never been to Maui, and I wanted us to both go on a new adventure together. She’s already taking 5 days off to show me Oahu, so I figure this would be more fun for her.

Boom.

Maui here I come!

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photo from here.

30 Days to Hawaii: Pre-Vacation Vacation

Just because I’m going on a vacation in three weeks doesn’t mean I can’t go on another one in between!

As I noted in an earlier post, it’s healthy to take vacationsSo I’ve decided I’m going to try and take a vacation once a month. So far, I went to Vegas in January, Chicago/Michigan in February, and already booked by tickets for Hawaii in April. Tomorrow, I’m going to go visit our friendly neighbors to the North tomorrow, and finally go to Vancouver.

Stay tuned for pictures of the trip!

Yu Live, Yu Learn

30 Days to Hawaii: Maui or Kauai?

Decisions, decisions.

One of the bigger decisions I’m currently dealing with is a tough one… which tropical paradise should I visit after I spend time on the tropical paradise known as Oahu? Do I go to Maui, or do I go to Kauai?

I know. Rough life.

Until recently, I didn’t have any idea of the differences between the two. I’ve heard of both of them, but I’ve really only heard of people going to Oahu and Maui on vacations. It sounds like Maui is a cross between Oahu and Kauai, and Kauai is a cross between Maui and Hawaii.

Of course, they look SO different:

Makena Beach, Maui

Lumahai Beach, Kauai

After having done some research, here are the where each island wins:

Maui Kauai
Beaches X
Surfing X
Nature X
Snorkeling X
Food X
Nightlife X
Hiking X
Whale Watching X

So it’s a tie. I’m stuck. Help! What island should I go to?

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photos from here and here.

30 Days to Hawaii: 10 Things to Know About Roaming

Oooooh man. I am so glad Hawaii is covered under under my wireless plan.

Having just gotten back from Vancouver, I remember quite clearly how annoying it is not to have your phone on you while vacationing. Roaming charges for international calls and data plans can literally cost you hundreds of dollars if you are not careful. Here are some things that every person should about their phones before traveling abroad.

  1. The good news is you can probably make calls anywhere you are in the world.
    The International Roaming Service will work in over 140 countries worldwide. For a list of countries where International Roaming Service will work, visit International Dialing and Country Codes.
  2. However, you will probably have a heart attack when you receive your next bill.
    The charges for roaming costs often result in extremely high fees.  If you are traveling to another country, be sure to check the roaming charges that will apply.
  3. You are sometimes considered roaming without even knowing it.
    Roaming occurs when users are in an area that is not covered by their own cellphone provider’s network. If you are unsure, check to see if your phone still says your regular wireless provider (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc) and not another company like Rogers Wireless or Telmex.
  4. Seriously, you can sometimes be roaming while still in the United States.
    This goes along with the above, but one time I was in Detroit for the Fight for Air climb up the Detroit Renaissance Center. I was shocked to find out that I had been roaming the entire time through Rogers Wireless. Your cell phone is built to always accept the strongest signal, so if your crap ass provider (T-Mobile) doesn’t have a strong network, sometimes you can be roaming while being miles away from the border.
  5. Never make calls while you’re next to a cruise ship.
    This may seem like a random one, but cruise ships carry their own cell towers so calls can be made while on the open water. These towers are on, even when the ships are docked. If you are in the vicinity of a cruise ship, you have a chance of catching the cruise ship’s signal and not your wireless provider. Since your cell phone will always accept the strongest signal, there is a chance you could be tapping into another wireless eve if you think you haven’t reached international waters yet.
  6. If you must make calls abroad, consider an international calling plan.
    You can also avoid roaming charges if you sign up for an international calling plan through your wireless provider.  Though it will result in a more expensive plan, remember that one mishap with roaming could cost you upwards of two or three hundred dollars .With a plan like this you can have the peace of mind that you won’t find any surprise charges on your bill. However, it is always smart check with your wireless provider about the areas covered.
  7. Or you could buy a pre-paid plan while you are traveling.
    Another option you have is to just fork over $20 for a sim card to put into your phone while you are abroad. These will provide you with a local number, which can be very helpful if you will be contacting people locally more often than if you contact people back home. In addition, since it is pre-paid, you never have to worry about going over your limit. If you do, you can always refill the card with as much money as you think you may need.
  8. Remember that your phone also has a continuous data plan.
    Most of us have smartphones nowadays, so always remember that you can still be roaming even if you don’t make any actual phone calls. If you are receiving emails, using GPS, or playing Words with Friends, (or reading this blog) on your phone while abroad, you are most certainly using a roaming data plan. Now is the time to freak out. Which is why…
  9. Airplane mode can be your best friend.
    You can also tote around your phone “in case of emergency” but keep it on airplane mode. This will allow your phone to remain on at all times, but disable all types of wireless connectivity (no calls, no data). This can be a nice option if you depend on your phone’s camera, want to use it as your MP3, and of course, have it so if you do need to make a call, you can just turn your phone on quickly.
  10. Finally, you can just give the phone companies the proverbial middle finger and just leave your phone at home.
    You are vacationing, right? So why don’t you just leave everything at home? It’s often nice to unplug once in a while, so take this time to leave everything behind and live in the moment!

So the next time you travel, remember these things about roaming, and hopefully you’ll be able to save money, keep in touch, and not have to worry about your phone while you’re on vacation!

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photo from here.

30 Days to Hawaii: The Beginning!

Hi there, stranger!

It’s been a while since I updated this blog (why does every other post seem to always start like that?) but I’ve finally found some inspiration to start blogging again. Two days ago, I somewhat spontaneously / haphazardly / stupidly / adventurously decided that I wanted to go to Hawaii. I checked prices sporadically while at work, quickly got some vacation days approved, and just booked a flight since the all-knowing bing.com told me it was a good time to buy.

"How do you not buy when it tells you to buy?" - The ultimate consumer

Now that the spontaneous “high” has worn off, there are a couple of things that are coming to light. Here are a couple of facts that I have compiled:

Fact #1: In exactly 30 days, I will be on the beaches of Oahu (then Maui/Kauai).
Fact #2: I have no idea where I’m staying, what I’ll be doing, and almost everything in between.
Fact #3: I will need to get into better shape before I go tromp around on the beaches.
Fact #4: Though my finances are in good shape, I should probably try and budget for this trip.
Fact #5: The last time I was in Hawaii was 18 years ago and my mom forgot my swim trunks so she made me go on the beach in my Superman underwear #scarredforlife #newmemoriesplease
Fact #6: There’s a lot to do in 30 days.

Actually, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I was slowly and subtlety brainwashed into going to Hawaii. Not sure enough to be Fact #7, but something tells me this was in fact… Destiny’s doing (pun intended)! Destiny, who I know from University of Michigan, now lives in Honolulu and tempts me all the time by sending me “everyday” pictures of the scene around her.

I got this the other day, along with the message, “Look at my view. Book Hawaii.”

The text on this one? “Pau Hana! Come visit!!!”

HOW DO YOU SAY NO TO THAT? The answer is you don’t.

So, now that I have been successfully tricked into visiting her, and being to goal-oriented person that I am, I have decided to use this trip as a jumping off point for my next blogging challenge (see: failed 10,000 sit-up challenge). In the next 30 days leading up to my trip, I’ve decided to post at least once a day pertaining to my trip, so this should be interesting. I’ll write about traveling, budgeting, vacationing, and yes, I’ll document myself becoming that annoying person who tries furiously to get into shape before showing up at the beach.

Can’t wait!

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photos from here and courtesy of Destiny Carrillo.