Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the first year is almost the past

I’m having a really hard time with getting my head around the fact that Reef turns a year old next month. I have a lot to say about his milestone of turning one, but have yet to give myself the opportunity to sit down and let the force that comes with releasing the emotional dam overtake me.

I never anticipated that this sweet, hazel-eyed, little boy would knock me back down to my foundation. That I would have to learn everything differently and all over again. That parenting him would force me to re-evaluate and redefine everything I thought I knew about love and patience and being a mother. Everything about him has been unexpected and wondrous.

Less than one month is left until the anniversary of our first meeting. A few fleeting weeks of textbook babyhood remain and I find myself digging my heels into the core of this experience. Trying to slow the train before we head into our next adventure. Reef has proven to be one of God’s most impactful tools for learning in my life. His lessons unavoidable and shockingly beautiful.

Friday, June 22, 2012

honeymoon: kauai, kalalau trail (day 8)

For more images, click HERE

The Na Pali Coast is the mother of all mind-blowing geological features —miles of impossibly craggy mountains dropping 1,000 feet into the sea, so huge and beautiful it can never be captured by photographs that do it anything like justice. SERIOUSLY! the beauty must be experienced to be believed. Pete and I concluded our Kauai experience with an aggressive 8 mile hike of the coast along the Kalalau Trail, one of America’s 10 most dangerous trails, originally created in the late 1800s. Beyond the physical impression, there is a certain sacred awe at being in such a magnificent natural setting. I call it a Hawaiian cathedral, not just because of the towering cliffs on all sides, but because Kalalau epitomizes the natural balance between the Hawaiian culture and the physical world.




We parked at Ke’e Beach and set off on an 8 mile hike we’ll never forget, getting vertically straight right away. I am no slouch. I hike, run, bike, kayak, ski, and when I am idle, I mentally pace about thinking about what I am going to do next. I say this because, despite all of my activities, backpacking the Na Pali Coast was a significant challenge. Hiking may be nothing on your favorite mainland activities, but it’s different here. The terrain is a jumble of slippery mud, lava rock shelves and stepping stones, streams to cross, roots to grasp onto with bare knuckles. With every step, you’re suspended mid-way between an unforgiving sea below and equally unforgiving mountains above, rising a thousand feet, rippling with plant life and the surreality (is that a word?) of millions of years of creative erosion. Plants you’ve never dreamed of sprout from every crevice, strangely angled roots jutting out and under at oddly symmetrical 45-degree angles, bearing fruit and flowers right out of Avatar. The trail is unforgiving of mistakes, forcing you to wake up and pay attention every step of the way.

There’s no opportunity for boredom or whining on the Kalalau – your feet are busy, your hands are busy, your eyes and brain are busy. Personally competitive.  And yet, it’s completely relaxing. You feel like you’re being washed clean of your workday life, thrown back into the Pleistocene, being reminded with every step of your most basic, organic, beautiful self.





2.5 miles in, we found ourselves at the secluded Hanakapi’ai Beach, hardly safe to swim in. Even with the sand molded around my legs up towards my shins, the waves pushed me around like weightless leaf. Multiple signs warned us about how many swimmers had been dragged out to sea here, lost their lives to arrogance. My suspicion is that most people who die in Hawaiian waters come from places far from the ocean – people not raised understanding its power even in coastal areas less powerful than this. Also, I’m quite sure that most deaths occur during the big swell months, not in the summer when waves are far less formidable (though we saw the kind of surf that reaches up and grabs irreverent souls from the rocks). Nonetheless, we enjoyed a snack and headed back onto the Hanakapi’ai Valley trail that leads to a waterfall, continuing along the entire 11 miles of impossibly beautiful and challenging coastline, having plenty of opportunities to use my Spidey senses. The trail becomes even more difficult than before, as it meanders over rocks and fallen trees. I’ve gotten myself into some pretty wooly situations in the California hills, but nothing like this. When I encountered challenging areas, I tried to overlook any potential fear and rather thank God for just being in the midst of remarkably beautiful, insane terrain.

All along the way, we noticed a familiar, enticing smell. Lying at our feet, some squashed, some freshly fallen from the trees above, were guavas…dozens of them, yellow and the size of Ping-Pong balls. As we marched along the coast and deeper into the jungle, we noticed that they could be plucked them from the earth. Elsewhere, I thought to myself, suckers were paying good money for these treats we could have for free.

Finally, we reached the waterfall, where we enjoyed an unforgettable lunch. Amidst a cascade of fresh water that tumbled at least 1,000 feet off a cliff above and into a wide, chilly pool at the base. Though other hikers were swimming and lunching, it still felt like a moment out of time, a lost corner of paradise.



I put down my camera bag, stripped to my swimsuit and eased myself into the water. In the morning hours, the water was tortuously cold; I was unable to make it in past my waist. Instead, I watched Pete swim over to where the falls hit the surface. Above us was a sky bluer than the ocean, and in that sky hovered a dot of a helicopter, ferrying visitors around the island on tours that cost hundreds of dollars. It made no sense to me. Why come all this way for Hawaii’s natural beauty, only to spend extra dollars to distance yourself from it?

For more images, click HERE

Thursday, June 21, 2012

honeymoon: zip-a-dee-doo-dah (day 6)


I’ve done a fair amount of adventurous things in life, but one activity still lingering unchecked on my bucket list was ziplining. Technically, I’ve been on small ziplines while away at summer camp, but they didn’t include surfing the rainforest canopy. I had always assumed my first real zipline experience would happen in Costa Rica, as the prominence of them exist in every corner of the country. While I arguably would have thought Costa Rica’s beauty would trump, there’s no way their ziplining collection could be better than that which we experienced in Kauai. Aside from the fertility of the surrounding forest, the length and height of the cables added to the adrenaline rush, and the overall number of cables and duration of the tour offer you the most bang for your buck. 
Princeville Ranch Adventures provides a Zip n’ Dip Expedition on their 2500 acres of private land on Kauai’s north shore.  The tour includes 9 exhilarating zip lines and a suspension bridge through treetops and over a waterfall, followed by an hour lunch at a deep water fall swimming hole with inner tubes. The tour concludes with Princeville’s pride and joy, the King Kong – the tallest and longest zipline of them all.

For more images, click HERE



Weighed and then outfitted with harnesses and helmets, we jumped in an old army-style vehicle to bump our way up to the top of the valley we were going to zip down (apparently, the same valley where Tropic Thunder was filmed). Before our descent, we were prompted for introductions and to share something special about ourselves. Pete stole the thunder with, “My name is Pete and I’m from Houston…the only thing special about me, is Mandi.” With predominantly women in tow, there was a embarrassment of awe’s following that moment, while I blushed.

Our group of 12 was a sure enjoyable and interesting sort: 5 college girls, a family of 5, and the two of us being the only honeymooners. Katie, a 23-year old from California, was the most targeted for playing tricks – she was a great sport and we hit it off quite well. Ben, the only qualified “child”, was timid to begin with but soon fought to be first in line thereafter. With the help of the landscape, our guides, Leo and Amber (aka Sweet Amber), truly made the adventure worthwhile – made the tour that must more interesting by including educational mentions regarding plant life and information about various aspects of their heritage and culture.

For more images, click HERE



If there were suggestions made to increase speed, Pete and I were sure to execute. If dares of crossing the suspension bridge with no hands were at all mentioned, again, we took to those challenges. Pete stole the show again when he got stuck in the middle of a 1200’ zipline – missed the rope at the platform and went backwards, resulting in a look of horror on everyone’s faces. Leo shimmied down the line to Pete’s rescue and pulled him into home – worst part for Pete being the “super wedgey.” We had beautiful views down the valley, luxuriant with trees and rivers – it was a great rush and just plain fun. It’s a bit pricey and that made me apprehensive prior, but all in all worth the expense! I’m glad I can now add zip lining to the list of adventures I’ve been lucky enough to have. A grateful thank you to my husband for coordinating such a wonderful voyage!

For more images, click HERE

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

reef musings: 10 months

June 18th marks the day of mine and Pete's 1st "monthiversary", but more importantly it marks the day that Reef first walked...

3 steps and Reef dove into his Daddy. I gasped and then slowly exhaled, chalking it up to nothing more than a fluke. Pete stood Reef a few feet from him, and AGAIN he walked. He walked! Uncontrollably, I squealed and did some silly dance in utter delight.

Other milestones:

  • Since 9 months, Reef gets off couches, chairs and stairs on his tummy, feet first.
  • Has nearly perfected his high fives.
  • Says "mama" and "da-da" and "bye".
  • Catches a foam ball and is close to throwing it back.
  • Makes the utmost perfect car noise while pushing his various wheels around the room. (Pete says the sound is spelled "bbbrrrbbbbrrrrbbbbrrrruuubb") [shrugs shoulders]
  • When he doesn't like something, he shakes his head no. Vice versa, when I tell him "no" (not to touch something), he stops and backs away slowly.
  • Has overcome his fear of water. So much so, he welcomes splashes at the pool and being dunked under the water. In small amounts.
This kid's got some amazing smarts and hand-eye coordination for a 10 month old! Watching Reef achieve milestones fills me with as much excitement and pride as I felt when Keegan and Bailey reached their achievements. I guess I always thought that maybe it wouldn't feel as big and wondrous after the first. Boy was I wrong!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

baby catcher

Monday, June 18, 2012

kauai (day 5)

Where we stayed:
Pali Ke Kua #4 – Literally a blessing in disguise! Initially, we sought out after a jungle bungalow (my new word “jungalow”). I’m talking hidden and secluded and surrounded by the abundant plant life that defines Kauai; often times petite studio-size houses on someone’s plantation, including outdoor showering/bathing facilities. Pete got to have his luxury in Maui, so I considered Kauai all mine. My intentions were to “rough it” and experience Kauai to the core. Apparently, we waited too late in the year to schedule these type places; owners reserve them for family visiting from the mainland or otherwise – availability was null. 
Pali Ke Kua seemed like just another condo, and it happened to be last on my list. To my surprise, it turned out to be utterly adorable, comfortable and incredibly spacious -- the kids could’ve had the entire upstairs to themselves. The unit immaculately maintained, equipped with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, as well as, all the beach tools we could possibly imagine. And most importantly, Joyce (owner) was a great wealth of information and included a hefty welcome basket that we were able to snack on in-between meals throughout our stay.

Where we ate:
The Dolphin 
– A hugely popular spot in Hanalei…for good reason. I would make it a point to eat here again and again. The prices are a bit higher than I originally expected, but high-quality does come at a premium -- very knowledgeable, attentive, accommodating staff, as well as, a view of the river and the mountains. We found it most interesting to have a female sushi chef!
Kalypso’s
 – The setting is similar to that of a beach bar; open-air; comfortable. The food was great and decently priced (for Hawaii) and friendly service. The breakfast menu looked quite appealing, but we simply didn’t have the opportunity to give it a whirl.
Bouchon’s Restaurant & Sushi Bar – If I had only one word, it would be “prompt.” If you can snag an upstairs table near an open window, do it – great views of Hanalei and the mountains; otherwise, the restaurant décor is not much to look at. No complaints here about the sushi – tasty and generously sized!
CJ’s Seafood and Steak House – Sit on the lanai in the evening and forget your worries! I ordered the Hanalei shrimp -- I literally wanted to lick it off the plate -- but reconsidered since we were in a public setting.  Here's a BIG tip -- make sure that if you are ordering from the "Lighter Menu" – it doesn't mean lighter as in weight management, but rather a smaller portion. In addition, you get a self-serve salad bar with your entrée – that’s pretty dang good!
Pink’s Creamery – the sign “Hawaiian Grilled Cheese” relentlessly haunted Pete’s mind – he HAD to have one! The storefront felt more like a hat shop and ice cream parlor that did sandwiches on the side, but the owner was so full of aloha spirit. The “Hawaiian” grilled cheese is naturally served with muenster, pineapple, kalua pork, on sweet Hawaiian bread. Silly Pete ordered without the “Hawaiian” but still charged a whopping $9! Yes, seriously!
Lappert’s Ice Cream & Coffee - All I remember is the smell of the waffle cones. I was like a character in a cartoon – I floated along in the air while my nose did the walking. Kona coffee ice cream with macadamia nuts – to die for! It is pricey, but at 5 percent higher butter fat than most ice creams and unique flavors like Coconut Mac Nut Fudge or Kauai pie, it is well worth the splurge.

For more images, click on one of the following links:
Kauai / Kalalau Trail
Kauai / Misc

______________________________________________________________________________

Where Maui is vast and spacious, five million year old Kauai is knotty and lush, with eroded spires of volcanic rock shooting up from dense jungles of palms and pines, bamboo and guava groves. Kauai was the setting for Jurassic Park, and in this prehistoric setting, it’s not hard to imagine a couple of raptors sunning themselves at your side on one of the soft, sandy beaches that circle virtually the entire island. Hmm…that was a lame description but you catch my drift.






In spite of its extravagant spectacle, Kauai feels intimate. The towns on its ring road are small, and as that road nears an end on the island’s north side, it shrinks to cute, single-lane bridges over inlets and streams.

Kauai is the northern and least developed island in the Hawaiian chain. It is mountainous and beautiful and famous for its rugged landscape. Kauai is geologically the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands, also known as the “Garden Isle”. The island of Kauai has been featured in more than seventy Hollywood movies and television shows, including Jurassic Park (as I’ve already mentioned), Indiana Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark, Six Days Seven Nights, the 2005 remake of King Kong, Tropic Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and many others.

Hanalei and Haena are the two primary towns on the north side, and they are close to the trailhead for the Na Pali Coast. While they are my recommended places to stay, keep in mind that it does rain here more often. If you are the type that prefers golf, resorts, and sun bathing you might like the south side more, specifically Poipu.

For more images, click on one of the following links:

Kauai / Kalalau Trail
Kauai / Misc




It’s still hard to believe we were actually in Kauai – nothing there at all seems real, and yet it’s all SO. REAL. The air is clean, fresh, unlike anywhere else surrounded by salt water. If you want highlights of the whole trip, you won’t find brief answers here on my blog. There’s much too much to describe about being on remote beaches, surrounded by incredible beauty, feeling like a hippie and of course, the views; vegetation absolutely exploding from every square inch of this volcanically twisted land.
Hawaiian law says no individual or property owner can hog a beach for themselves — all beaches are public by definition. But the question of access to those beaches is a bit murky. For example, start driving around in the artificial (“planned”) community of Princeville and you’ll find signs all over the place reading “Parking for residents only.” But get close enough to the coastline and you’ll eventually find a much smaller, more subtle sign reading “Public beach access –>.” In other words, you’re welcome to use our beaches, but you can’t park within a mile of them. Then, once you start down the trail, you’ll find signs saying things like “Warning: Treacherous trail ahead. Slippery, steep, falling rocks, unstable soil. You’ll probably die a gruesome death if you choose to continue. Proceed at your own risk. This trail not maintained by the ABC condominium consortium.” Ignore the CYA signs written for trail wussies and continue. If you’ve already done the Kalalau Trail (written about in more detail below), these trails will seem like sidewalks in comparison.



A lesser-known and lightly visited beach in Princeville, Pali Ke Kua (aka Hideaway Beach), was just 200 yards from our house, down a tennis court-side alley way. There’s a nice little surf break along the reef here, but good luck navigating your board down the narrow stair case path.
Queens Bath, also in Princeville, is a relatively popular landmark in Kauai.  You’ll pass two very nice waterfalls on the way down. It is a tide pool about the size of a swimming pool, located below lava cliffs along a rocky shoreline. While beautiful, it’s also dangerous. Warning signs advise no swimming, as well as, the number of deaths that have occurred here. 28 known fatalities. The tide makes a huge difference – if you swim, you had better fancy yourself a great swimmer. It may appear calm for a 10-15 minute time period, and then a rogue wave comes in out of nowhere and flushes you out to sea, or otherwise, crushes you into the surrounding rock walls. Sea turtles are commonly seen here, but we only saw one.
The north shore beaches were fairly traditional. On the half-hidden, pine-shaded sands of Kauapea Beach (aka Secret Beach) was a picturesque setting. Waves crashing, expanses of lonely sand, reels of filmic potential, the whole postcard.

For more images, click on one of the following links:

Kauai / Kalalau Trail
Kauai / Misc


Hanalei Bay is a well-protected, wide-mouthed sandy bay just minutes from Princeville, where we lodged. I can still picture the vast number of surfers, SUP boarders, and several outriggers drifting by. The water is clear to the bottom and fairly warm for Pacific waters – exactly the Hawaii scene we imagined -- the soup of life, where it all came from, kids ecstatic to be buffeted by small waves, sand ideal. When we weren’t at the water’s edge, we were hanging around the town of Hanalei, a short stretch of restaurants and shops that was as low-key and high-quality as you could hope to find on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean -- perfectly convenient access to snorkel/surfboard rentals, shave ice, coffee and delicious island food.
Kind of tough to feel blue in Hawaii though – islanders only get depressed when really bad things happen… like if their mango gets a bruise when it falls from the tree in the backyard, or if they only see one rainbow in a whole day.




There is hardly a more romantic time than your honeymoon. And there is hardly a more romantic place to spend your honeymoon than on the Island of Kauai. With more miles of beach per miles of coastline than any other of the Hawaiian islands, you are sure to find perfection.

For more images, click on one of the following links:
Kauai / Kalalau Trail
Kauai / Misc

Sunday, June 17, 2012

happy father's day to the men in my life

I have the best “baby daddy.” He's pretty amazing, no lie. So incredibly hands-on with Baby Reef and eager to wake for those 6:00AM feedings, supports me in nearly every regard, doesn't complain about my piles of crap everywhere. Oh wait…those are his piles of crap! (Oh well, "what’s yours is mine" he says.) Doesn't complain about all my volunteer interests, my obsession with cleaning, or my awfully annoying habits like eating ice. He persistently helps Keegan and Bailey with their school projects, seeks out fun and adventure for the family to enjoy, and happily demonstrates 1.5 flips off the pool diving board when prompted. All the kids enjoy their time with Daddy Pete, whether they admit it or not. They're used to me. But if Pete gets to do something or offers to play with them, whoa! then that’s way cool. I knew I was playing my cards right when I met my husband. I could see 'father material' all over him though I had no idea he would be THIS good. I don't think he knew how much it would open him up…how much he would 'feel' for his kids and/or the mother of his children, even moreso than before. It's hard to imagine him anymore loving, but I truly think Pete's heart has grown since our early years together, and it is indeed from being a father.
My father-in-law is also a fabulous dad. He's solid, trustworthy, kind, old-fashioned, and likes to take the kids fishing or otherwise cuddle with the baby-babies in the family.  I know he set a wonderful example for my Pete, working hard for his family and staying true to his wife and kids. He's not the gushy, emotional type like his son, but I know his family means a lot to him.
My dad is of course, THE best. Isn't that what a girl should think about her dad -- that the sun rises and sets on him? It's true. He does everything perfectly. He's a gentleman...sweet, strict, loving...all those things. I can see that my children have a special connection to him. They respect him (they respect their other grandparents, too, don't get me wrong!), and they are interested in his opinion. I've noticed it really means something to my kids to try to please him. I think it's endearing that they go out of their way for him. Bailey always seems to come up with things she thinks “Paw-Paw” would like.
I am so lucky and blessed to be surrounded by these great men. To have my children be surrounded by them too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

maui, road to hana (day 2)

5:30 a.m. That was the time our alarm went off to get up, get ready, and beat the traffic on the notorious road to Hana! (Amazing how I can get up that early in paradise to go see cool stuff, but not here at home when I need to go to work). We didn't want to be stuck in a row of cars stopping every 3 feet or so. We're over-achievers like that. But seriously, Hana is a legendary stretch of road for glorious views of sea and waterfalls and rushing streams, but it’s a sincere test for drivers; 617 curves, over 52 miles of switchbacks, hairpin turns, and 50-something one-lane bridges. Nearly 3 hours one way.

I heard someone at the Hyatt Regency ask, "why would I want to spend an entire day of my vacation on a road?" Thinking back on that question, I scoff. Lemme tell you, it is SO worth it. A trip to Maui would be incomplete otherwise. The ‘road to Hana day’ was one of my favorite parts of the trip! *sigh* This will not be the last time that I mention how important it is to experience this yourself, for pictures don’t do it justice.

If there's one thing I need in the morning, it's some sort of sustenance. (In other words, if I don't eat, I get hangry = hungry + angry. Just being honest). Lucky for us, a little pastry/coffee bar opened at the hotel just before our departure!

On the heels of that, I can drink a gallon of Gatorade and drive comfortably for five hours.  As for Pete, I have to cut off his liquid intake at 6 pm the night before the trip.  The morning of any lengthy drive, I will allow Pete a tablespoon of water to wash down breakfast and he can suck on throat lozenges until we are at least halfway into the trip.  I wish I were making this up. Hee hee!

There are 3 requirements before getting on the road: a topless jeep, sunscreen, and the radio turned to Hawaiian music. There are innumerable places to stop and see waterfalls, ponds, and gardens. It’s a sight to behold, provided you are not prone to car-sickness. There are lush green trees filled with wild mossy vines, flower filled branches with pinks, reds, and yellows. The ocean, a vibrant clear blue. I later learned that this narrow coastal road was carved by pick axe-wielding convicts. (Exactly the sort of punishment convicts today should be enduring, but I’ll save that for another blog.)

Just after mile marker 2 we found a sign that says “Twin Falls” and a roadside stand. Never mind the “no trespassing” sign on the gate -- you can take a gentle little hike and easily get into the water at Waikani Falls. This is just the first of many sights left to see.

Shockingly, there are small stands located sporadically along the road to Hana, selling fruit or flowers. These stands work on the honor system: you take what you want and leave your money in the basket. (Interesting. This sort of arrangement would never thrive here on the mainland.)



For more images, click on one of the links below:
Maui / Misc
Maui / Road to Hana, Oheo Gulch, Black Sand Beach

Just before reaching Hana, we stopped in Nahiko – a roadside collection of fruit stands, a coffee house, a gift shop and a couple of restaurants. I use the word ‘restaurants’ rather loosely -- canopy covered picnic tables set up next to make-shift kitchens, with food kept in portable coolers. A tad skeptical, Pete and I enjoyed the tastiest fish tacos and pad thai next to that of the mainland. Fresh coconuts, too!

Approximately 9 miles past Hana is a place called the Oheo Gulch. Apparently “gulch” didn't sound too alluring, so it’s more often referenced as Seven Sacred Pools. Are there actually seven? Nope. More like 4. People stop for a dip here before heading back from a long day of sightseeing on the road.

Here’s Pete, leaping into the great unknown! As many of you have read, I have a freaktastic fear of dark water when I can't see the bottom of something, which isn’t the norm for most of Hawaii waters. The thought of what could be underneath those rocks makes my heart beat incredibly fast. When more people are in the water, I’m keenly more susceptible to partaking. So, yeah. I'm a freak show. Anyway, whatever...Pete jumping is cool enough for us both. :)


Just above Seven Sacred Pools is one of the best hikes on Maui, via Hakeakala National Park. It is 4 miles round trip, and reaches an elevation of 650 feet. It will take 2 hours or longer depending on your pace as you walk through a bamboo forest ending at the 400 foot Waimoku Falls. Hiking up to this waterfall is a delight. However, it is difficult to photograph due to its size. (I will never again travel without a wide angle lens. What was I thinking?!)




On the return trip, housed in Wai'anapanapa Park, the black sand beach is absurdly gorgeous -- filled with beautiful stones that look like onyx, shaped by the ocean waves. Did you know that black sand beaches are often formed in mere days or weeks?! They're formed when lava flows into the sea, shattering on contact with the ocean. Fragments formed the sand! That said, black beaches usually have a short life span (few hundred years) b/c once lava stops flowing, there's no more black sand being made. (Just a wee bit of trivia for you.)

Still pretending to be Lewis and Clark, we opted to explore the lava tube cave and blow hole just off the beach! I pretended to tie my shoe or something so Pete would go first. Ya know…just in case.  ;)


All in all, Hana (pop. 1200+) doesn’t have a whole lot going on beyond its striking natural setting.  The metaphor of life is perfectly fitting, “it’s the journey, not the destination.” And it was on this journey to Hana that I quickly recognized how much had become wallpaper in my life. I made a mental list of the all the people, experiences, places and gifts that I’ve inadvertently started to take for granted and decided to remedy this situation. I’m mindfully expanding my daily practice to look at the world with fresh eyes each day. To make sure I anchor this perspective, I’ve written a goal that I affirm each day as a positive reminder to stay awake and fully appreciate all that’s fabulous in my life.

I encourage you to do the same. Spend five minutes right now and take an inventory, reflecting on all of the aspects of your life. What have you started to take for granted? What do you rush by and overlook as you focus on your next destination? Then, commit to appreciating the beauty and gifts that are present each day. Remind yourself to enjoy the journey that is life.

Get good at living. Mahalo!

For more images, click on one of the links below:
Maui / Misc
Maui / Road to Hana, Oheo Gulch, Black Sand Beach

Thursday, June 14, 2012

maui, hawaii

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I kind of love Hawaii. A lot. And I miss being there. (sniff, sniff)

This post is specific to Maui. If you’re ever on the island, these are the things we ate, did, and places we purchased stuff from. I’ve made notes next to the ones that I didn’t write specific posts about and have included the links to the places I did/will blog about. The pictures come from an array of cameras: Canon T3i, Canon S95, Some version of a Nikon waterproof camera, and our camera phones...hence the quality or lack thereof. For more images, please click on the link at the bottom of any Hawaiian-related post. But please don't judge my lack of hiking fashion sense or post-prego flab I may still be sportin' around since baby. (Give me at least a year. K? K.)

I miss being there but am so happy to share our trip with you all!

Enjoy!

Where we stayed:
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – By far one of the best places to stay in Maui. The grounds are exceptionally beautiful and very well manicured. The lobby is open-air with amazing views of the ocean and surrounding mountains. Let’s not forget the exotic parrots, penguins, and fish that inhabit the lobby throughout the daytime hours. The beach is steps from the hotel and the pools with numerous cascading waterfalls are fantastic –pictures don’t do it justice. It’s within walking distance of Whaler’s Village shopping and a short drive to Lahaina, a little town I fell in love with. I would be more than ecstatic to stay here again!

For more images, click on one of the links below:
Maui / Misc
Maui / Road to Hana, Oheo Gulch, Black Sand Beach




Where we ate:
Umalu
- a trendy, but casual, poolside restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort. It’s larger and offers a better menu than most poolside restaurants. Their service proved outstanding during both, our afternoon pool outings and/or our late-night cravings. Drinks are liberal.
Feast of Lele – phenom! Reputed for being the most sophisticated luau. Rather than a buffet, it’s plated, at your own private white linen table overlooking the ocean and island of Lana’i, versus the group seating at most other luaus. The portions are plentiful, but should you want more of anything, just ask. The servers are gracious and prompt, deserving of a hefty tip at the end of the evening. Is this the cheapest luau? No. Is this the best luau? Without a doubt.
Teralani – The Teralani, meaning “Heaven on Earth,” is a 65’ catamaran which hosted our sunset dinner cruise one evening. The meal included appetizers, dinner, all-you-can-drink beverages and of course, the utmost beautiful sunset finality. We visited with fellow honeymooners, two being from Scotland. Great times!



What we did:
Specifically other than lounge on the beach/pool, surf, snorkel, shopped and the like...
-Road to Hana (see upcoming post)
-Hiked
-Jumped off cliffs
-Dinner cruise (as mentioned above)
-Luau (also mentioned above)

For more images, click on one of the links below:
Maui / Misc
Maui / Road to Hana, Oheo Gulch, Black Sand Beach



For more images, click on one of the links below:
Maui / Misc
Maui / Road to Hana, Oheo Gulch, Black Sand Beach
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