Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aloha Sunday Update

Happy Aloha Sunday!

Live from the fun & games department, Maui branch:  an Aloha Sunday Update.

Proof that things really are different in Wisconsin

You can't go wrong with a coordinated dance on the Fan Cam.    Or with words that have a different meaning in Wisconsin.  (This girl loves her Kringle....and I don't mean Kris)

I'm super excited to take a day tour of the Scottish Highlands with the Hairy Coo next month.  The name alone, and the possibility of photo ops with coo hats, or coos in the wild, guarantee a day of awesomeness.  

Loved this list of reasons to get off the couch and exercise.   #18 is my reason.  Ice cream, I'm coming for you!

The iconic Alma Mater statue at the University of Illinois returned to campus after 2 years of repair.   Did you know there is an Alma Cam?

Are you obsessed with blondies?   This recipe sounds amazing.  

Have you watched Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk about body language?   Ladies, take two minutes to power pose and then continue on with awesomeness!

And then there is this list of 39 things that only girls who grew up in the 80s would know....I feel like there were a few things on this list that must have completely passed me by...probably because I was racing through my neighbors yards and riding my bike without a helmet.

Yesterday we went to a fundraiser at Star Noodle called the Empty Bowl Project.    A $25 donation got me a handmade bowl and ramen with the proceeds going to Maui Food Bank.   I love these kinds of events!

Hope you had a great week and are ready for more awesomeness to come!   Hard to believe we're in the middle of April already.   Where is this year going?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Aloha Sunday Update

Happy Aloha Sunday!

Live from the fun & games department, Maui branch:  an Aloha Sunday Update.

The finished product:  the cinnamon frosting is the bomb!
This recipe for Carrot Cake Blondies from Crazy for Crust is amazing.    I made them this weekend and took them to a bbq.   Feedback?   So ono!

Working in the hospitality industry, I'm always interested in the posts that circulate about how to score travel deals, freebies, or in this case 8 sneaky hotel cheats.  No worries...we're on to you.

I love that coffee (and local coffee at that) is a thing here in Hawaii.   What better to go with your coffee than an infographic about it?

Looking forward to attending the Empty Bowl Project next weekend at Star Noodle.

In November back in Colorado, one of the news anchors at 9 news pleaded for more creative pictures than snow covered patio furniture.   With a late spring snow this past week, fans upped their game.   After all, Colorado owns winter.  

Who knew that this handsome fella lived on Maui?
Yesterday at the Maui Ag Fest

My favorite national park, Yellowstone, has been in the news a lot this past week.   Where are the bison running?  Why are they running?   Is there cause for panic?  Probably not.

According to this list, I've only been to 2 of the top 10 restaurants on Maui.   When I moved here, I also decided to start my own list...every single restaurant, shave ice stand, ice cream parlor and coffee shop that I've tried since November 2013.  

Happy Sunday Everyone!   
Sneak in one more nap, activity, or glass of wine before the day ends.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Upcountry Adventures: Maui's Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch

On our most recent upcountry adventure, we added Maui's Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch to our itinerary.

Having learned the hard way, the first time that we tried to go to the winery back in January, that GPS will send you astray, we followed the directions on their website this time.   After having lunch at Grandma's coffee shop in Kula (definitely worth a stop for a baked treat or lunch), we continued onward.   The drive is gorgeous - windy roads through the countryside with views of the ocean.   If you're driving, it is your responsibility to keep your eyes on the road.

Wine tastings are complimentary.   Where else can you try pineapple wine?   In addition to the wines, they sell a variety of locally made products and wine accessories.    I bought some macadamia sugar for my coffee and some amazing Thai basil sea salt.   There's also fascinating information about the history of the land - very different plants and trees grow upcountry compared to the shore.
Maui's Winery also has tours at 10:30 and 1:30 and I do love my tours.
I'll have to go back for a tour.    And another tasting.  

When you go upcountry, consider visiting Surfing Goat Dairy and/or Kula Country Farms

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Show and Tell: Bamboo Forest Hike - Maui

If there's one hike that I've heard about from everyone since moving to Maui, it's the Bamboo Forest.   Everyone loves it.   Everyone does it more than once.

This is the hike that you take visiting friends (or new residents...ahem) on to show and tell:  this is is the real Hawaii.   

It's not marked.   There's not a designated parking lot.   You enter through breaks in the fences.   Hiking through the bamboo.   Over, around and through creeks, pools and falls.

To get to the last waterfall,  swimming is required.   You use questionable looking ropes and ladders.    Some people hike barefoot.

It is in guidebooks and on trip advisor, but you're more likely to do it with someone who has done it before.

You can also jump off waterfalls....and who doesn't love that?

And tradition says that afterwards, you eat lunch at Flatbread (yum!)

Have you had a real local experience where you live recently?   What did you do?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whale Watching, Now with MORE Whales

At the end of December, I went on a whale watch and wrote about how whales are hard to photograph.     Being wild animals and all, they are definitely not interesting in posing.    And it's hard to pose anyway when you have to swim to stay alive.       

February is peak whale season.  The 22nd was the Great Whale Count.  1,311 whales were counted by volunteers all over Maui.     Over the weekend I went out with some friends on a Pacific Whale Foundation whale watching cruise.

Whales everywhere!    

Mom whales.   Calf whales.  Primary escort whales.   Competition pod whales (these are the guys who are fighting with each other and the primary escort to win the girl).   

If you are in Hawaii right now, you should be out on a whale watch.    Unless it's dark.   Then you should be planning yours. 

Or drinking a Mai Tai.   

Sunday, February 16, 2014

World Whale Day 2014

Yet another celebration I can get behind:  World Whale Day.

Yesterday there was a big festival in Kihei, including the 34th annual Parade of Whales.     This was my first time attending a parade here in Maui.     Who doesn't love a parade?   Especially one celebrating our special winter visitors, the humpback whales.

Next week, I'm going on a Pacific Whale Foundation whale watch.    The whales have really been out to play the past month and I've been able to watch them from the beach, but I'm excited to be out in the water again and see them up close.

Have you been to any festivals recently?     If you were going to create a celebration for your favorite animal, what would it be?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Whales Are My Reward (don't hate, relocate)

I am three months and two days into this new adventure that I creativity call Life in Maui.  
No doubt I picked a good year to get promoted and move to a tropical island. 
Because winter.
I've experienced winter every year of my life.    There has been snow.   There has been ice.   There have been days I wished I could stay in bed.    
Note:  if you want snow days, the hospitality industry is NOT for you.   
But this winter seems to be super special.   Family and friends in Colorado, Wisconsin and Illinois are all sharing the same story.   This winter is cold and sucky.   
My sister sent me the weather forecast for this evening back in Colorado.   -13 with a "RealFeel" of -12.    At this point, the "RealFeel" is damn cold.   
Who is excited for this?

Last week our paychecks were slow in arriving to Maui because of the snow in Atlanta.  

Which prompted this ice breaker question in one of my training classes.

I'm still caught in the wonder of living here.    And there will still be wonder even when the polarvotexpocolypse is over and it's spring on the mainland.    Tonight on the way home I decided to stop at one of the beach parks to watch the sunset.    I was woefully over dressed.   I had on pants.  Structured Pants.   And shoes instead of slippers (aka flip flops).  
This was my reward.

Hello sunset - good to see you
Some days it's like the Discovery Channel or Nat Geo should be here filming.    While I was waiting on the beach for the sunset, a whale came out to play.    Waving his fins.  Breaching.   

Right here.   On a Wednesday after work. 


That speck coming out of the ocean in this picture is a humpback whale.  


A big move can be stressful and crazy.  
The fun of learning, exploring and enjoying your new home is the reward.


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