Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts

Monday, November 30, 2020

A Real Hawaiian Christmas Tree

This year we treated ourselves to a real live Hawaiian Christmas tree!

We have been living abroad since April of 2015 and every Christmas we have decorated. Apartment living, especially in Asia, means small spaces. Small spaces = small decorations. Like most things, we have made the most of it. 

Here's a look at some of our Christmas decorations over the years...

Shenzhen, China 2015 - hand-me-downs from another expat on her way out of Shenzhen. 

Hong Kong 2016 - a little upgrade with the added poinsettia!

Hong Kong 2017 - upgraded our tree to a mini live branch, haha. We had a lot of presents because Grant and Georgia were both visiting that year. I don't remember where the green light came from??

Hong Kong 2018 - Not sure this is an upgrade since it's fake, but it did have lights. I bought this tree from someone who was leaving Discovery Bay and posted in the neighborhood "things for sale" group. The upgrade would definitely be the two new ornaments from Devan and Georgia (which were too heavy for our tiny tree, haha).

Kailua 2019 - another pre-lit tiny tabletop tree, but we upgraded to also hanging lights on the lanai. I always loved having lights on the house at Christmastime.

Kailua 2020 - Meet Norton, our Norfolk pine from Helemano Farms in Wahiawa. 

The day before Thanksgiving, we drove about 35 minutes from Kailua to Wahiawa. With COVID social distancing and regulations, we planned to be first in line when they opened so we could get in and out. We were second.

Helemano Farm had lots of trees. Fields and fields of baby trees not ready to be cut yet. The views with the mountains in the distance were stunning.

We wanted to find our perfect tree, so our guide led us past the pre-cut trees to the field where the mature trees were growing. 

We were told to look for the trees with the white tags - which meant they were 6 feet tall. The tags were in the middle of the tree, which was actually the bottom of what would be cut. We would be taking home the top.

After picking the best looking tree around, Daniel took about 5 seconds to cut it down. Then he carried it off to be wrapped and tied it to the top of our car. That's when we learned that we were his very first customers on his very first day! 

After stopping for lunch in Haleiwa on the North Shore, we finally got Norton home and unwrapped. Chris had to trim him a bit and wrap the base to make it fat enough to fit in the stand. Then we crossed our fingers that he would perk up and stand tall.

A few days later, I had picked up some real decorations (although still small because Norton is a delicate guy) and got to decorating. Fortunately Target, which is right around the corner from our apartment, had just what we needed for our little Hawaiian tree.

We also upgraded the lights on our lanai. I found some awesome solar lights on Amazon. They charge all day and come on as soon as it is dark enough. 

I am loving our tree and decorations this year.

How do you do Christmas?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Five: Kicking Off Summer

It turns out that living out of my suitcase for nearly a month took it's toll on me. As much as I wanted to jump right back into my normal routine of fitness and blogging when we got back to Hong Kong, my brain just wasn't ready.

Has it really been a month since my last blog post???

Today it finally felt like it was time to catch up and write a Friday Five post about what's been going on around here.

1. We were blessed with some incredibly nice weather when we got back from the states and I did some swimming and walking.

2. I researched a lot of different juices until I found a favorite ---> Happy Apple <3

3. mrC and I got dressed up and went to our first Chinese wedding celebration in Macau. If you think their celebrations are over-the-top, you are right! It was a lot of fun.

4. And then little C arrived for a kick off the summer two week visit ---> just as Hong Kong was having record-setting hot weather.

We went to Stanley Beach to show her one of Hong Kong's most popular sports and cheer on the AWA Dragon Boat team.

We got nice and sweaty hiking at Cape D'Aguilar and then cooled off with a swim at Shek O Beach.

She and I got to spend the day on a junk boat cruising around Hong Kong Island while her dad was working.

5. We played on our SUP boards.

A couple of weeks of living up to my 2018 goals, I felt refreshed and energized. In my next post, I will tell you about the two week fitness challenge I took.

I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0!

Did your summer weather kick in early?
Tell me something you have been up to lately!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Bamboo Aerial Yoga | Weekly Wrap

This weekend I met up with a group of friends to add Bamboo Aerial Yoga to my I-tried-it list. If you have seen the enviable photos of aerial yoga over the sea, you probably understand why I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation to join the fun.

We attended a three part full day workshop for beginners. First we met up at the Yoga Bambam studio in Central for an introduction aerial yoga lesson. Our instructor (and founder of Bamboo Yoga), Aleksandra, showed our small class of nine how to do 8-10 different poses and gave us plenty of time to practice during the hour-long session.

After a break for brunch at Mana, we taxi'd across Hong Kong to Sai Kung and hiked to the beach. The 30-ish minute hike to Sai Wan Beach was mostly downhill, so it was easy to chat with each other and enjoy being in nature along the way.

At the beach we had time to change our clothes if we wanted. I decided to put on my yoga shorts and keep my capris dry (affiliate). We did a warm-up yoga flow while Aleksandra and Melissa, another instructor, set up the bamboo tripods.

With two bamboo tripods erected, our class was split into two groups for the 90 minute beach session. Our group of five stayed together and took turns going through the poses we learned in the morning session.

We first had to learn how to get into the hammock. The hammocks are hung higher than normal over the water so that while you are posing upside down, you don't have to worry about waves getting in your face.

Basically for 90 minutes it was all about getting the photos. With the help of our instructor, Melissa, we did all the poses from the morning and a couple of extra for fun ones that we saw her do while we took a break.

Here are some of my favorites:

Even though none of us had ever done aerial yoga before, the backdrop of Hong Kong mountains and the South China Sea made all of our poses #instaworthy. This was definitely a fun activity to do with friends!

After the class, we took the water taxi back to Sai Kung. The views from the boat were just beautiful. Hong Kong is an amazing place to live and play!

The rest of my week looked like this:

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Swim 500 meters plus Dirty Dozen Arm Workout

Wednesday - Swim 650 meters

Thursday - Rest

Friday - Yoga + Swim 650 meters plus two cool down laps

Saturday - Dirty Dozen Leg Workout + Yoga + SUP

Sunday - Aerial Yoga

Have you ever tried aerial yoga? Would you try it over water at the beach?

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Hiking: Maclehose Trail Stage 3

Embrace the hill!

That should be the mantra heading into this hike because the climbing is no joke.

I'm on a mission to hike all 100 km of the Maclehose Trail in Hong Kong. Unofficially, I started this trail when I hiked stage 2 with my SWIC hiking friends a couple of years ago. Now I'm teaming up with my AWA hiking friends to hopefully finish this beast.

Stage 3 of the Maclehose Trail is rated difficult because of the multiple climbs and rugged trail. You won't find any concrete paths or stairs on this one, but flat rock steps help on the ascents.

The first climb takes you up to Ngau Yee Shek Shan/Ngam Tau Shan at over 400 meters. Although it is quite challenging making your way up, the views of the mountains of Sai Kung and the South China Sea in the distance make rest stops along the way enjoyable (especially if you are there on a clear day).

A rather long and gradual descent takes you to a camping area at Cheung Sheung. This was a large area but the only living creature we saw on this drizzly day was a cow.

The second climb is short and sweet. Here you get the first views of the other side of the mountain toward Three Fathoms Cove and the skyscrapers of Ma On Shan.

Another drop down sets the stage for the final and most grueling climb of the day. The trail is the most rugged and steepest yet as you make your way up to Kai Kung Shan at 399 meters. Sadly after all that climbing we found ourselves in a cloud with no hope for a view.

It was all downhill from there. Literally. The trail gradually and slowly descends to Kei Ling Ha. Slowly because the trail is completely covered with irregular rocks.

At the end of stage 3 there is a very nice picnic area, rest rooms and a vending machine with water. A short walk takes you to the bus stops.

Other hard hikes in Hong Kong:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Hong Kong Stay Warm Running Tips

After running my way through more than one winter in New Hampshire, I considered myself a Winter Warrior. It took some practice though. I had to learn how to embrace the frigid temps, wicked winds and foot after foot of snow. There were actually piles of snow everywhere on my last run before we moved to China. Eventually I could layer up with all my favorite gear (like Polartec tights - affiliate) and run in the middle of a snow storm if I wanted to.

My idea of cold has changed a lot in the last 2 1/2 years. Cold for me now is anything under 60F degrees, ha! At it's coldest, the temperatures in Hong Kong can dip between 30F and 40F but they don't stay there very long. No matter what your cold feels like, I think it's important to think about how to stay warm.

Here's how I keep warm on cold weather runs in Hong Kong ---> remember it's all relative:

1. Long sleeve tee or capris - when the temperature drops, the first thing I change is my running outfit. My first go-to change is to try a long sleeve tee with shorts because once I get used to running in shorts I don't want to give them up. If it's too cold for the shorts, I'll dig out my running capris.

2. A hat - I usually hate wearing hats, but they really do work for keeping warm. Since I don't have to worry about my ears freezing, I can usually throw on any old ball cap to do the trick.

3. Heavy duty layers - on the rare really cold day (like my recent feels like 47F 5K), I pull out the winter training gear and layer up. This year I have a new favorite warm top (affiliate) from Athleta. I actually have a ton of gear in storage in Massachusetts, but I didn't think I would need any of it here.

4. Arm warmers/compression socks - sometimes it's only feeling chilly at the beginning of the workout and that's when arm warmers come in handy because you can roll them down once you warm up. Compression socks are great for those in-between shorts and capris temps (or for those of us hanging onto our shorts a little longer). I actually don't remember to wear either of these often enough.

5. The treadmill - when all else fails and I reach my cold weather tolerance limit, there is always the trusty treadmill at the fitness center. I'm pretty sure that only a cold wintery rainy day will force me to run indoors while I'm living here.

How do you stay warm on cold weather runs/days where you live?

I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0 and Nicole for Fit & Fashionable Friday 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hiking: Discovery Bay to Mui Wo via Tiger's Head

Just two days after hiking Dragon's Back, the kids decided that they wanted to tackle Tiger's Head ---> a peak that looms over us here in Discovery Bay. The name Tiger's Head comes from how the peak looks from the top - what do you think? Does it look like a tiger is watching over DB?

The best way to describe our hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo via Tiger's Head, is to break the 9km into three parts:

The first 3km was all climbing and I mean serious climbing right up to Tiger's Head peak at about 460 meters. It is hard work (made easier than our first time by the cooler weather) and in some places it feels like you are going straight up. But if you take breaks, it is completely manageable.

Lucky for us, we had a beautiful day to hike. The reward for the climb is the amazing views, especially once you push past Tiger's Head up to the ridge of Lo Fu Tau Country Trail.

For the next 3km we followed the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail across the ridge to its beginning. This part of the hike was pretty easy since the trail was mostly flat. We soaked up the views and the sun and didn't even let the crazy trail runners bother us ;)

Along this part of the trail we found the famous rock formations: turtle rock, sword sharpening rock and peach rock. According to online articles, none of these are man-made although they look like it.

The final 3+km began around the junction of Lo Fu Tau Country Trail and Olympic Trail. We took a short snack break at the pavilion before starting our descent into Mui Wo.

On this part of the hike there is lots of shade, at times it felt like we were walking through a forest. We spent a few minutes at Silvermine Cave and Silvermine Waterfall Garden before finishing up in Mui Wo.

We celebrated our hard core hiking skills with lunch at our favorite spot in Mui Wo, The Kitchen.

Other Discovery Bay area hikes: