Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

courtesy of Maui's own Shaka Pops!
handmade gourmet popsicles, for sale in select
grocery stores, at the Swap Meet and Westin
Kaanapali Resort today.
It is here - the Fourth of July! A big day for Americans, the celebration of their independence from Great Britain in 1776. Happy birthday America!

Our family aren't the ra-ra-America nor the ra-ra-Canada type of people. Don't get me wrong, we love our countries, both our birth country and our adopted country. But we just don't get sentimental about it either way. This morning as I was pouring my coffee it struck me as kind of ironic. Today the US celebrates its independence from Great Britain. Canada on the other hand still has significant ties to Great Britain as a member of the British Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth's picture is on all its money. The two countries are in some ways quite different, and in others quite similar.

How is Independence Day celebrated in Maui? There are those who celebrate it, and there are those are are quite antagonistic about it. The result, a rather subdued affair. Yes, there are activities and fireworks in Lahaina at 8pm. Every year there are questions - aren't there fireworks in Wailea? I know in years past there have been small displays put on by the hotels, but I haven't heard of any this year. And yes, Costco and other stores have been busy selling fireworks, I am sure there will be many going off in neighborhoods around the island. BY THE WAY fireworks are not allowed at most (if not all) condo complexes!

Wait a minute, you said people are antagonistic? Towards Independence Day? What's that all about? Read up on the US overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and annexation of Hawai'i in 1898. To this day it is quite controversial in Hawai'i.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Can you guess where?

This weekend we visited a place we hadn't been in more than 7 years. Maybe even longer. It sure has changed...

Can you guess where this is?

a train in a bar?

industrial sugar cane art?

a cool new bar?

feathered friends?

Did you guess?

It's at the Maui Tropical Plantation! Go check it out!! I can't believe how much it has changed since I was last here...

And yes, the Mill House bar really does have a train engine inside the bar. Seriously cool!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Travel memories

one of the pictures from our family's June
travel adventures... one of our souvenirs,
hockey sticks (can't buy them on Maui).
Do you have anything special you do to capture the memories of your trip? Most of us take pictures, but what do you do with them? Last year our family took a special trip and I made the kids keep a travel journal. Every day they had to write a page (or more), and then they got to take turns using the camera to take pictures of all the cool new things we saw and experienced. When we came home, the learning continued as they got to create their own photo book on Shutterfly (which I thought was more user-friendly, though more expensive than Costco), combining their favorite daily pictures and a description of the day from their travel journal. As a mom I thought I was being so smart. The kids felt so tortured. But their travel photo books turned out awesome! So awesome, that this year we're repeating the process. But this time the little guy is doing one too. This could be interesting.

My acquaintance and favorite Maui author Toby Neal is writing a travel blog. She is traveling from Seattle to Alaska with her husband this month, and documenting her trip on her blog. I love her books and have been following her blog for the past few months now. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lei making demonstration at Whaler's Village

On every Tuesday and Friday between 11am and 1pm Whaler's Village in Kaanapali hosts a lei making demonstration on their Center Stage. It doesn't look like this is an event where you actively participate, but if any of my readers have checked this out, do let us know some details!

Whaler's Village is an upscale shopping mall in Kaanapali, comparable to the Shops at Wailea. It is nestled right in between some of the resorts, with direct access to the Kaanapali Beach Walk and the beach.

Friday, June 19, 2015

McDonald's haupia pie

I've been wanting to try this since I heard about it.... but I don't make it to McD's that regularly - just when the kids talk me into it.

A while ago I finally had it. McDonald's haupia pie. This appears to be a local addition to their menu. What is haupia? It's a coconut pudding. You can buy haupia cake in stores, such as Safeway or Zippys.

What did I think? It was crispy on the outside with a hot coconut pudding filling. Not too sweet, the flavor was good, but I wish it had had more texture, maybe chunks or something in it - though I'm not sure what that would be like either.

I'm betting you can only get this in Hawaii. If you see it elsewhere, let me know! I'm curious.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Beautiful hibiscus blooms around Maui Kamaole

I love the Maui Kamaole property. This is a 23 acre property with beautiful landscaping and 316 condos. We own a large ground floor ocean-view one bedroom two bathroom condo at Maui Kamaole.

Check out these hybrid hibiscus bloomin the I-building parking lot. So fragile and beautiful!

I am not sure what these flowers are called - but they are blooming in full force in the I parking lot.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alaska Airline's cool seats

Alaska Airlines.... this airline has the past few years rated one of the top airlines in the US. So when I was booking a recent mainland trip, I thought - sure, let's give them a try.

I booked the flights five months prior to our trip and got a great rate. As we got closer to our travel date, I realized I really didn't want to suffer through a red-eye flight in economy and looked to upgrade to economy plus. I've done this when flying with Hawaiian Airlines, and the up-charge isn't that much. Oh no! There was no upgrade option!

Okay, I scrunched up my face and thought, I will just look what the up-charge to first class seats would be. Not that I'll spring for it, but I'll 'just look.' The website didn't give me the option to upgrade! What?? Was first class just sold out, or did I need to wait until check-in to upgrade? When I looked, it seemed there were still seats available for purchase in first class. I gave up - with the whole family flying, that wasn't a viable option anyway. 

Is there really no economy plus? While the airline says some flights have Preferred Plus Seating, apparently mine did not. Can you really not upgrade to first class once you have purchased your regular economy tickets? I don't know. I swallowed. First class wasn't feasible anyway. 

When we boarded the plane we were in for a pleasant surprise. No, not a surprise upgrade - even my husband Sig has stopped dreaming about that! But instead it was the seats themselves. I have not seen these on an airplane before. 

Skinny seats! The seat back was no more than 2 inches thick. The magazines were stored up high in the seat behind the tray table (instead of where my knees are). And each seat had an electrical outlet to charge phones/gadgets! Although the seat pitch (airline speak for distance between seat backs) seemed similar to other planes I've been on, you gain space with the narrower seat backs and not having the magazines at knee height.

Yes, I still hate red-eyes (what was I thinking??), but given the circumstances, this flight was a pleasant surprise. 

Curious about seat pitch? Here's an article and infographic comparing seat pitch between various airlines. Apparently Alaska Airlines has some of the narrowest seats in the business. I didn't notice that. I was too busy enjoying the space between my knees and the seat in front of me.

Disclaimer - I don't know if Alaska Airlines has these seats on all their planes. I also obviously don't know much about upgrading seats - if you know more, let me know.

Friday, June 12, 2015

AARP Hawaii presents a free movie viewing of 'Still Alice'

This fluttered into my inbox today. While I haven't seen the movie, I recently read the book. It was so very moving. I don't quite trust myself to watch this movie in public - I know I would cry. And cry some more. It seems these days we all have loved ones who are touched by Altzheimer's. 

Thursday, June 18, 6:00 pm
MACC - McCoy Studio Theater

Still Alice is a remarkable film starring Academy Award Winner Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor at Columbia University. When words begin to escape her and she starts becoming lost on her daily jogs, Alice must come face-to-face with a devastating diagnosis: early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Join AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Hawaii for a free screening of Still Alice, and learn more about resources for family caregivers and their loved ones.
Q & A Session after the film. FREE!
Entrance is free, but seating is limited:
advance registration required

To RSVP call

Presented by AARP Hawaii and I Heart Caregivers, which recognizes the 42 million Americans who perform a great labor of love every day, Learn more at the event and share your caregiving story now at

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Locally made jewelry

Local meteorologist Malika Dudley is a woman of all trades. I follow her on facebook, she has done some excellent reporting during the past near hurricanes/tropical storms. Currently she is the chief meteorologist for MauiNow and BigIslandNow, local newspapers with a strong online presence. If you ever want to know what's going on on Maui, check out MauiNow (and/or MauiWatch where Malika formerly volunteered). Additionally, she is a new mom, former beauty pageant winner, Miss Hawaii and Miss Congeniality at the Miss America Pageant. Recently I've had a look at the jewelry she makes.

Just before Mother's Day I saw a post that Malika's jewelry was on sale. What a great opportunity to check out her Etsy shop and fall in love with a beautiful set of earrings. I know, it's such a hardship to do research for this blog!

The earrings themselves are beautiful. I love the color blue, and they happened to match a necklace I already own. The sterling silver is nicely crafted, it is nice quality jewelry. So, if you are looking for a little something 'Maui', check out her Surfergirl Etsy store.

the earrings arrived in this cute little box
aren't they pretty? I think so! 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Another Maui author for you!

The first book of JoAnn Bassett's
Island of Aloha mystery series!
Much to the chagrin of my house-keeping skills, the old bookworm in me has been revived. After reading all of Maui author/therapist Toby Neal's books, I promised I'd find you (and me) another local author. Amazon recommended I check out author JoAnn Bassett's books, and well, it sounded a lot better than tidying and dusting the house, so I did.

I'm currently reading my way through the Island of Aloha mystery series by Joann Bassett. Ms Bassett bought a home on Maui in 1996 and splits her time between Maui and Oregon. And yes, this series is also free to read as part of the KindleUnlimited package.

How do they compare to Toby Neal's books? It's still mystery and the stories take place in Hawaii, but that's about where the comparison ends. Both are great, the Bassett books a little less intense or graphic, but fun!

You'll have to check them out!! Great reading and insight into life in Hawaii.