Paris Fashion Week In Your Home

Did you know that we are now deep into Spring 2019 Fashion Week in Paris?  What a weekend it was with many of the newest interpretations of fashion heritage as well as cutting edge new looks.  I have already been completely blown away from the likes of Celine, Loewe, and Valentino (btw-Valentino was the first Italian Couturier to show in Paris).  All of these shows are on the heels of London, New York and Milan Fashion Week. There are so many new trends that you should anticipate.  Look for ruffles and sizeable proportions, crochet, aspen gold, khaki is the new black, highlighter color blocking and tons of 80’s inspiration.

Interior design and fashion have always been intimately connected to each other. Previously, furniture wouldn’t appear until five or six years after it appeared on the runway. This decreased as people started to realize the potential for fashion inspiring interior design. A few years ago, it reached a point where it was a mere two seasons away.

Today, we’ve reached a point where there is no gap. Both industries work together to inspire each other. And this is something that will continue to happen from now on. We’re increasingly seeing interior design trends cropping up on the major catwalks of the industry. This wasn’t always the case before.

Social media has increased the speed at which information travels. You no longer have to wait for the next issue of a magazine to come out.  Almost as soon as a collection hits the runway, reporters, photographers and bloggers are sharing these events with their readers and viewers. These images are quickly posted on blogs, websites and across our television screens to the consumer. So, where fashion was once a true driver of the world of interiors, the two are now working together.

Interior design is almost as big as the clothing industry. There are countless magazines, blogs, and shows all displaying the latest trends.  If you’re an aspiring fashion designer, or you simply want a new wardrobe, interior design can help you. Inspiration doesn’t always have to mean copying. Sometimes, fashion magazines don’t offer anything new. You need to look elsewhere for inspiration.

Believe it or not, patterns for dresses tend to appear in our homes before they appear on the catwalk. Think of the popular floral pattern that’s ‘in’ today. This isn’t anything new or innovative. Floral designs have been used since the early 20th century. In those days, having these patterns on clothing would have been unthinkable.

Fashion designers have been inspired by different patterns found in carpets and on walls over the years. It starts with a flat surface, such as a wall, and then designers work with it to turn it into a three-dimensional moving garment.

An essential part of interior design is how patterns and colors work together. This is also a consideration for those in the fashion world. One way fashion designers can become inspired is by looking at nature. This is due to the vast color combinations and the use of light and shading. The interior design also has the same capacity to inspire. Carpets must fit in with walls and shelves. Cupboards must work with sofas and TV stands.

Just as your wardrobe changes with the seasons and trends from the runway, your interiors can do the same. Whether it’s adding a hot, new print to your couch with some throw pillows, or acquiring a chair in an of-the-moment color, you can find some of the best décor inspiration straight from the runways.  As fashion designers max out boho looks with unexpected mixes of materials and prints in complementary tones, get gutsy with your combinations at home.  As we continue to see a ton of gold and brass in fashion and interior design, and they’re still a great way to elevate any look, both in your wardrobe and at home. Mirrored shine, lame, and silver details sparkled down the runway too this season. Go bold with this concept in your home with, what else—mirrors. Lastly, the classic silhouette of a classic trench from Burberry–was made modern on the runway with an unexpected, but practical fabrication accented with pops of color and chain. Give traditional elements to your home such as a burlwood Parsons desk, a tufted sofa, and a turned leg ottoman and add an unexpected pop with Lucite chairs. Remember, life is your runway. Make it your own utilizing the inspiration around you.









Stoked To Surf Via Art

The sport of surfing continues to be one of the major pat times for most Hawaiians.  There are very few given days that you cannot stop at the shore line and catch a few big barrel waves.  But did you know that this love affair with the waves has become a worldwide fascination?  You might be surprised to know that Tokyo has become one of the newest surfing destinations on the planet.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Japanese and many other Asian families are drawn to Hawaii.

We are all obsessed with the mystery and unpredictability of the ocean.  If you visit Tokyo you might be taken backby the many people in wetsuits clutching surfboards on pedal cruiser bikes through the torii, the stone gates that lead from Kamakura’s main street on to Yuigahama beach. The scene at the beach is straight out of the book of surfing clichés as enthusiasts with sun-reddened faces and broad shoulders, wearing Wayfarers and board shorts, swap stories in the parking lot. Yet there is something quintessentially Japanese about it: a row of sandals has been carefully left at the edge of the beach, and unlike their carefree Californian and Australian counterparts, Japanese surfers carry portable showers, foot towels, and plastic coat hangers on which to dry their wet suits.

This surfing craze has now only heightened awareness of upcoming Hawaiian local surf artists. Today there is a whole genre of surf art. It’s usually illustration-based and characterized by a mixture of psychedelic, surrealist, punk and comic book-derived influences.

To understand the development of surf art, you need to understand the development of the surfboard.  While today the surfboard is inextricably linked to images of California in the 1960s, it is by no means an American invention. Surf culture originated in Polynesia and came to the US by way of Hawaii.  The light, shiny, colorful surfboard that we know today is fundamentally a product of material technologies developed during the years surrounding World War II. Styrofoam and, later, polyurethane foam made for an unprecedentedly light board body, which would be weighted with strips of balsa or redwood. Then, the whole board would be encased in a thin coating of smooth, shiny fiberglass that could be endlessly polished.

Technology has had a huge impact not only upon surfboards themselves, but their decorative components. Using cutting edge polyester resin pigments, designers completely reinvented the look of the surfboard by introducing bright colors and graphics applied directly to the plastic core and then sealed in beneath the fiberglass.

A group of Los Angeles painters and sculptors represented by the famed Ferus Gallery (among them Billy Al Bengston, Ken Price and Robert Irwin) saw new opportunities for their own art in the space age plastics, resins and other polymers that surf culture—of which they were themselves a part—had embraced. Bengston famously created paintings that he actually polished, like a surfboard or motorcycle, to a state of impeccable shine. These surf artists showed how surfing design could be transmuted into other spheres, and that the culture and attitude could inform any number of creative activities.

Today we have quite a few artists that are incredibly hot in Hawaii but throughout the world.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce you to just a few of them.

One of the coolest and most authentic artists of today’s surf art community is Nick Wells or “Welzie”. Oahu’s North Shore artist Nick Wells spreads aloha with his surf-inspired works.  As a young boy in Santa Cruz, Welzie retreated into the blank pages of his sketchbook, experimenting with lines, shapes and colors and finding solace in the images he brought to life.  In 2008, Wells and surfboard shaper Carl Olsen started Two Crows Surfboards, a collaboration mashing surfboards and freestyle art. At Olsen’s suggestion, he began signing his pieces “Welzie.”  Today, Welzie is most recognized for his one-of-a-kind original resin creations that are fabricated just like surfboards in the Two Crows workshop, but using wood instead of foam. Each piece is covered with fiberglass and laminated with white resin to create a textured canvas, then painted with a mixture of pigments and resin, sealed with another layer of resin and finished off with a final drawing. Visually composed of an abstract, freestyle background overlaid with graphic pop art images, his art embodies a yin-yang.  It’s also important to know, he has a big heart.  I now consider him a friend and some of the things he does for kids is pretty awesome.  He’s the artist behind the shark mural at Banzai Skate Park, which he spontaneously painted in part to cover up graffiti. During surf trips, he delivers art kits to kids with limited resources in places like Baja and Sayulita, Mexico.  Nick recently completed a special piece for our collection that includes Marty and myself as little fish.  Can you guess which one is me?   Check him out at

I can’t discuss surf art without mentioning Kauai resident Heather Brown.  She is perhaps the hottest ticket in the world of Hawaiian modern surf art.  Inspired by her love for the sea, nature, popular surf breaks, and the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, Heather Brown brings to life some of the most coveted works of art for our generation.  After working as a boat captain and dive master to put herself through the Bachelors of Fine Arts program at The University of Hawaii gave Heather Brown the perfect vantage point to fill her head with the beautiful imagery of the Hawaiian Islands.

Brown has been coined the “Godmother of Modern Surf Art” by the Los Angeles Times. Heather Brown’s art has become a benchmark in the global surf art market, finding its way into collector’s homes around the world. Throughout Heather Brown’s career she’s been named “Best Artist In Hawaii” for four consecutive years, and chosen as Rip Curl’s “Artist of the Search” for the past five years now garnering her own clothing line “Heather Brown for Rip Curl.” She has created art for The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Festival, The Surfrider Foundation and many more as well as opening up Heather Brown Galleries in Tokyo, and Osaka Japan. She continues to work with numerous non-profits around the world, always keeping “giving back” extremely close to her heart.  Check her out at

You might recognize the name Kim Sielbeck from the likes of Pepsi and British brand Propercorn, which allowed her to catch the eyes of major London agency JSR, with whom she recently signed. The illustrator, painter, and surface designer recently departed NYC to relocate to the Oahu where she once called home in her youth.  Known for her tropical island of kawaii cats, puppies and Hawaiian vibes Kim can find inspiration in the day today paradise that is her own.  She clearly one to watch, and an artist bringing her sunny, vibrant style to all corners of the world.  We recently completed a commissioned piece for Christian our pup’s tenth birthday and it is fantastic.

Lastly, Karen Obuhanych or ktoart was raised in California where she enjoyed the outdoors, sports and doing anything creative. Inspired by annual trips to Hawaii, where her father grew up, Karen moved to Oahu to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting. Karen currently resides on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the simple element of happiness that drives Karen Obuhanych and her artwork. Nature presents little gifts of joy in amazing compositions and brilliant color every day. Karen strives to capture these moments in each painting.  My team at Tiffany & Co. commissioned a painting for our wedding in 2015 and it is one that we will cherish forever.  She is located at

There are so many artists and free spirits on our islands.  This week I only had room for a few in my blog but, I promise to keep you posted on the many more.  Do yourself a favor and check out the art scene the next time you visit our islands.  As you can see, it really has made an impact world-wide.

Running Around Kauai

Last week, I shared with you a little history about the sugar industry on my home island of Kauai. We are definitely so fortunate to have this emergence of cultures and we take pride in the amazing food, design and compassion our residents share with each other.   What you might not know is that Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island and is sometimes called the “Garden Island,” which is an entirely accurate description. The oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs aged by time and the elements. Centuries of growth have formed tropical rainforests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls! Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond your imagination. More than just dramatic beauty, the island is home to a variety of outdoor activities.

While Kauai is famous for its dramatic cliffs, canyons and rainforests, it’s also home to some of Hawaii’s most picturesque beaches. 50 miles of shimmering white-sand coast is where you can enjoy overwhelmingly beautiful unspoiled views surround the island. Find activities for both daring and more relaxed travelers, from surfing Hanalei Bay’s waves in the North Shore to spotting whales and sea turtles at Poipu Beach Park in the south.

Kauai’s lush landscapes and pristine beaches are a feast for the senses. You’ll find a multitude of things to do around the island — whether it’s an exhilarating zip line adventure through the jungle, a relaxing day at the beach, or a kayaking trip on one of Kauai’s rivers. The Garden Isle is a true adventurer’s playground. For those seeking a quieter pace, the island offers plenty of additional opportunities to explore local culture, history and more — including museums, historical landmarks, farmers markets and more. You can tour the film locations of more than 60 movies and TV shows.

Each year on Labor Day weekend, Kauai welcomes visitors from all over the world to participate in the Kauai Marathon.  The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon begin in Poipu, the world-class resort community at the sunny southern end of the island, with routes sharing the first 11 miles. The courses follow the contour of the scenic coastline, offering magnificent views of the island’s picturesque beaches, rugged volcanic peaks, and green tropical rain forests. As dawn breaks, runners experience lush green vistas as they approach the shade of the century-old Tunnel of Trees before winding through misty Omao (my neighborhood) where the half marathoners enter Kukui’ula Resort offering spectacular ocean views for the last few miles. The full marathon heads out to Lawai before climbing to reveal stunning ocean views at the top of Kalaheo. The remaining miles are a gradual descent until runners receive a rousing island welcome upon their return to Poipu Beach.

The original purpose of the event was to gather residents and visitors together for a world-class race experience that fosters camaraderie, friendship, and charitable giving. While the main event is the Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon, there are many other festivities throughout the race weekend that bring people of all ages together to make this one of the most unique destination races in the world.  From the Fun Run and Keiki events on Saturday morning to the Wilcox Health Sports and Fitness Expo complimentary presentations, to gorgeous dancers, cultural course entertainment, and volunteers and spectators on race day that inspire and encourage participants to keep going. This aloha spirit and community generosity make this a truly special event.

For the last two years, my husband Marty participated in the half marathon.  In mid-May I had a total right hip replacement (I’m not ancient yet – only 45) and he decided to cheer with Christian (#GHKPUP) and myself from our driveway as the runners and walkers went past.  It truly was an inspiring event to see the entire community come out and support the athletes.  We were located near the ninth mile and were fortunate to have a local hula halau dance to the beat of the Ipu Heke across the street from our home.   We were so very proud of our local ohana as well as all the participants and friends from allover the world that came to participate. This is just another reason to visit Kauai on Labor Day weekend.











Sugar Brings Cultural Immersion

We shared quite a bit over the last month about the island of Maui however, this week I thought I would bring it home to Kauai.  We all like to think that our “home” island is the best in the island chain but I am certain that mine is. Growing up in the Appalachia Mountains and then moving to New York City, I have been fortunate to live in natural beauty as well as thrive in a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities.  The beautiful Garden Isle of Kauai is the combination of both.  Kauai has landscapes that you can only dream of and when merged with the historical sugar plantations of the past it creates the most spectacular and diverse “home” ever.

If you are wondering how this wonderful combination of heritage happened on little Kauai – here is my friends.  The first commercial sugarcane plantation was started in Koloa, Kauai on July 29, 1835. Ladd & Company obtained a 50-year lease on nearly 1,000-acres of land and established a plantation and mill site in Koloa. It was soon to change the face of Kaua‘i (and Hawai‘i) forever, launching an entire economy, lifestyle and practice of monocropping that lasted for over a century.

Koloa Plantation set other standards that endured throughout the islands for over 100-years.  Plantation life established an entire community for its workers. In addition to the plantation-owned general store, housing was provided as well. Barrack-type buildings or individual homes had space for workers to plant a garden. The company dairy sold milk to plantation workers. Medical services were even provided.  The plantations were cities unto themselves employing the majority of island labor force, providing housing, transportation, entertainment and later even electricity to the residents of Kauai through the power generated at their sugar mills.

Beginning in the 1850s, as the sugar industry grew and plantations began to multiply throughout Hawaii, plantation owners—many tracing their ancestry to English and American missionary families—began importing contracted laborers from outside the Islands to supplement Hawaiian laborers. By the early 20th century, thousands of laborers from China, Portugal, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Puerto Rico and Okinawa had moved to the Islands, completed their sugar plantation contracts and elected to stay.

Chinese laborers, who began arriving in the Islands a half-century before most other ethnic groups, were the first to fulfill their contracts and leave the plantations, collectively creating one of Hawaii’s first middle classes, founding banks and their own businesses. The Portuguese eventually contributed to the growth of Hawaii’s ranching industry, working as paniolo (cowboys).

There were three big waves of workforce immigration:

  • Chinese 1850
  • Japanese 1885
  • Filipinos 1905

Several smaller, but substantial, migrations also occurred:

  • Portuguese 1877
  • Norwegians 1880
  • Germans 1881
  • Puerto Ricans 1900
  • Koreans 1906
  • Spanish 1907

As you can see, the sugar industry is at the center of Hawaii’s modern diversity of races and ethnic cultures. Of the nearly 385,000 workers that came, many thousands stayed to become a part of Hawai‘i’s unique ethnic mix.   Hawai‘i continues to be one of the most culturally diverse and racially integrated places on the globe.  This blending of cultures in such close geographic quarters has ultimately influence many of the things we consider uniquely Hawaii—from the many multi-ethnic foods we eat (so very ono), fashions we wear and businesses we frequent to the liberal politicians we elect, fellow residents we befriend and families we raise.  This is why Kauai is “home”.

Back to the story, although there was much made progress on the plantation, Ladd & Co. could no longer continue and the plantation was sold at auction to Grove Farm Company for $3,600. When Grove Farm Company closed their businesses; McBride Sugar Plantation purchased most of Koloa Plantation’s cane lands, the Koloa Mill and factory when in 1996 it finally closed forever. Today, most of the land has been converted to cultivating coffee.

Each year we now honor the heritage of the sugar culture with Koloa Plantation Days festival. The festival is a chance for you to immerse yourself in Kauai’s rich diversity. The event is held every July on the sunny South Shore of the island.  Located in the area where Hawaii’s first sugar plantation was founded, Koloa Plantation Days comprises a lively, family-oriented slate of events that showcase the area’s social history, its natural history, and its diverse cultural traditions. In addition, numerous events allow attendees to enjoy the sports activities and entertainment available at the gracious resorts in the Poipu and Koloa area. Most events are outdoors and free of charge.

This special event celebrates the immigrants who came from Philippines, Europe, the Azores, Japan, Korea, China, and elsewhere who contributed traditions, music, dances, and foods to the rich melting pot that is Hawaii. You can experience these cultures throughout the week from the first walk down Hapa Trail and a rodeo weekend featuring paniolo culture, through a variety of live music events and cultural performances, a historic exhibit and film night, craft fairs, culinary demonstrations and tasting events, Polynesian revue, and the historic parade and park celebration which brings all these elements together.

Koloa Plantation Days also celebrates the present-day vitality of Koloa and Poipu, a major visitor destination on Kauai. Resorts and businesses welcome visitors and residents to enjoy guided walks and talk stories; outdoors sports and a variety of themed keiki (children) activities, live music and celebrations, and play golf and tennis. Everyone can also watch top rodeo competitors from the state and mainland.

In conclusion, culture and heritage goes hand in hand with the beauty of the island.  Kauai is not only created from volcanic eruptions, wind, rain and oceans but also from the passion and love of the people who live and have lived here.  You experience culture in ways that only others could imagine and are greeted and embraced with true Hawaiian aloha.  Who would have thought the sweetness of sugar would create a bold spice of life?  Come to visit us on Kauai.

What Could Have Been HI

We live on the island of Kauai.  We live within an island chain.  We all support each other.  We have flooding and storms frequently.  Hurricane Lane has been an entirely different kind of “animal”.   We were all warned in advance that Lane was coming to town. This time everyone took it very seriously.  The laid back lifestyle quickly became a little buttoned up.

Hawaii has had only 3 direct Hurricane hits since storms have been recorded – Hurricane Dot 1959, Hurricane Iwa 1982 and Hurricane Iniki 1992.  Iniki (meaning strong piercing wind) was the most powerful hurricane to ever strike the state of Hawaii and made landfall on my home island of Kauai.

On September 11, 1992, Iniki struck Kauai with winds of 145mph and reached a Category 4.  This intense storm had recorded gusts of up to 227 mph.  Hurricane Iniki’s high winds caused extensive damage in Kauai. 1,421 houses were destroyed, and 63 were lost from the storm surge and wave action. A total of 5,152 homes were severely damaged and 7,178 received minor damage. Iniki’s high winds also downed 26.5% of the island’s transmission poles, 37% of its distribution poles, and 35% of its 800 miles of its distribution wire system. The entire island lacked electricity and television service for an extended period of time. Electric companies restored only 20% of the island’s power service within four weeks of Iniki, while other areas were without power for three to four months. Also affected by the storm was the agricultural sector. Hurricane Iniki was the costliest hurricane to strike the state of Hawaiicausing $3.1 billion in damage and was responsible for six deaths.

When I went “to town” this past week and saw Kapuna (senior citizens) stocking up on hurricane supplies, I knew it was a very serious situation.  Everyone was on edge for over a week anticipating Hurricane Lane.  Lane was one of the most unpredictable storms and definitely the slowest.   The anxiety and preparation from this slow mover was one of the most challenging events that I recall.

I am not a newbie to hurricanes.  I spent 7 years living in Florida and have been through quite a few hurricane and tropical storms.  Hurricane Lane was quite different.  I have been trying to find ways to explain it.  So many wonderful friends reached out with their support and prayers.  We were so grateful.  I heard from my friends in Florida and Texas.  Each of them shared their concern and confidently reminded me of how we all had been through it before. They also reassured me that it would come and go.  I just didn’t have the reassurance I needed.

I have decided that preparing for a storm on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is considerably different from preparing and waiting on the mainland.  Here are a few reasons why:

  1. We live on an island. When you live on the mainland you have an “option” to drive away from the storm (even last minute if you get cold feet).  We don’t have an escape route.  Going north 5-8 hours and checking into a resort isn’t an option for us. Did I mention our main highways around the island are only 61 miles long?
  2. There are only a handful of grocery stores on the island. We have a very small Walmart, Kmart (closing), amazing Costco and that’s about it.  When supplies are gone, they are gone.
  3. Many stores on Kauai only receive barge shipments a couple times a week. When the harbors close (which they did) they don’t receive supplies.
  4. The stores were out of water on Monday. The local merchants were very fortunate to receive a large barge delivery on Monday night that allowed us one last opportunity to grasp the supplies we need.
  5. Helicopters couldn’t drop water and supplies if the winds were over 40 mph and National Guard caravans could not drive supplies to us from other states or regions (we are on an island). Unfortunately, the helicopter air situation did occur on the island of Maui.  Three brush fires broke out spreading through the dry west side.  The winds were so strong on Maui that helicopters could not be dispatched to drop water.  As a result there were 2,330 acres scorched, 7 homes destroyed, 22 homes damaged and 30 cars burnt.  Lahaina town was spared by the fire damage within a few blocks.
  6. People on our island survived Iniki and the hurricane track did somewhat resemble the same path as much as the news media wanted to portray that it did not. The tension was quite high for a “hang loose” community lifestyle.
  7. There are quite a few people that telecommute for work (since we are on an island). My company’s Hawaiian office is based in Honolulu.  The teams that I manage are on Maui.  If lines of communication had gone down I was not going to be available to make crucial decisions about my team, business and business hours.  Since the storm moved so slowly, there were many sleepless nights.
  8. This is one of the first times you really recognize you are “on an island” floating in the sea and it is the tropics. The humidity was something that I cannot quite explain.  If you haven’t had island fever – you kinda get it right away.  If you don’t have island fever in the beginning you get it at the end.  The waiting is the worst and even when you think it is gone – this thing is still lingering.

Overall, we were very fortunate not to have damage on Kauai.  I feel completely relieved and grateful that we were spared from what could have been. Our neighbors on the Big Island however had significant flooding and torrential downpours that dropped more that four feet of water.  It was the third highest storm total of rainfall from a tropical cyclone in the United States since 1950.  Maui also sustained damage from heavy rains and the raging brush fires.  The flooding and mudslides on these islands are significant. The Big Island has been given one more burden after struggling with volcanic devastation over the last few months. As a resident of Hawaii we are all so grateful as things could have been so much worse.  Please continue your thoughts, prayers and positivity as our many residents work together to bring our islands back to normal.  We look forward to welcoming you as our guests and sharing our aloha!   Mahalo to you.



Are We There Yet?

Just when you thought we had finished exploring I realized that I did not take you on the most iconic Hawaiian excursion ever!  The Road to Hana is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state of Hawaii. Before you go make certain you download an app tour to Hana on your smart phone.  These GPS guided tours are amazing and really helpful to provide history and early reminders of upcoming stops along the way.  (Many of the sites are unidentified).  Also, don’t forget a few necessities that include, bug spray, sunscreen, old Teva’s or sneakers, rain jacket, wet wipes, towels, wet washcloths and lots of water.  This is can be a muddy journey so be prepared.  Lastly, be safe.  Accidents happen on adventures and there is only a small medical clinic in Hana so, if you get injured badly (I broke my wrist slipping on the lava rock) you will need to “deal” until you drive back to Kahului.

Paia is the last town you will pass before you make your journey to Hana Town. Make certain you fill up with gas and food.  In this special little town you can have a great breakfast/lunch, grab coffee, and pick up a Hana picnic lunch for the road.   After you complete your journey to Hana you will have an option to keep driving around Maui or turn back around and retrace the journey.  If you decide to circle back (I always do) you should consider having dinner at the Paia Flatbread Company or Paia Fish Market (this is the original – they also have locations in Lahaina Town & Kihei).  The food is amazing and the atmosphere is super eclectic. There is excellent shopping and fun people watching.  This area of the island truly represents a bohemian surf lifestyle.

As you pass though Paia you will see the iconic Mama’s Fish House.  This locale is known by tourists as the best place to dine on Maui.  It is also one of the most expensive.  If you chose to come back on another day, invest in lunch or an early dinner.  The views are as spectacular as the food.  The ambiance is definitely part of the experience and you cannot see it in the dark of night.

From the bluff along the side of the small winding road you will come upon Ho’okipa lookout.  This is a great spot to stop and watch some of the best surfing in Maui.  In the winter, the waves can get massive and rough here. Maui is mecca to windsurfers and kite boarders due to consistent wind.  I strongly suggest that you do not surf here unless you are very experienced and accompanied with a local.

Easily missed along the way is the hike to see Twin Falls. These picturesque waterfalls offer a large area to swim and take selfies! Consider sticking to the closest falls along the path (lower falls) in order to save time on your trip and be really careful of flash floods.  You’ll always see cars parked here along the road.  Make certain you keep all your belongings hidden and covered out of sight. You do not want to return from your amazing experience and find your windows smashed in your rental car.  This does happen and there are usually multiple cars “knocked out” at a time.  Avoid renting Jeeps and Nissan Altima’s they are indicators of a tourist.

If you are up for another hike, Waikamoi Ridge has a nice hike with a picnic area. It has 2 loops. One takes about 10 minutes and the other takes about half an hour. Waikamoi Trail can sometimes be muddy, but it’s a pretty hike through the trees.

If you are starting to feel a little peckish, make certain you stop and visit the Halfway to Hana Stand. Here you will have many options for fresh baked banana bread and other goodies for the remainder of your trip to Hana.

As you become closer to Hana Town you must make it a priority to visit the Hana Lava Tube. This natural wonder is simply amazing. At around the 31 mile marker, you’ll need to turn left on ‘Ula’ino Road and drive for less than 1/2 a mile. On the left, you’ll see where you can get your flashlights for this massive lava tube.  After cooling down in the tubes make certain you go a little further down the road. You will soon see a sign for the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. They have the only accessible view of Pi’ilanihale Heiau, which is the largest Temple in Hawaii. This ancient temple took hundreds of years to complete and sprawls over 3 acres. This is a MUST SEE!

As the day continues you will finally be approaching Hana.  Hana is a quaint small sleepy town on the water. Others know Hana as a place of deep roots, historic battles, legendary locations, and a place for the Gods. It is a very special little place that can really impact your overall visit along the journey.

I certainly hope you aren’t exhausted yet. The Wailua Falls are coming up next.  These falls are just seamless and elegant. You cannot miss these beautiful waterfalls.  They are located right on the road and along a bridge. Just past the bridge are places to pull over and park.

Please make certain you are not running out of time. Save a few hours for the end of your journey. It is probably the biggest WOW of the entire trip – another portion of Haleakala National Park.  On my first journey to Hana, we searched and hunted for the bamboo forest.  Little did we know that if we had driven just a little further we would have made it however, we did not.  You could literally spend hours visiting this portion of Haleakala National Park.  This part of the park is spectacular.  This is the location for ‘Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools), the Pipiwai Trail, and Waimoku Falls. There’s camping, a visitor center, bathrooms, waterfalls, and ancient Hawaiian ruins.  I promise this is not disappointing.

At this point darkness is near. You will need to decide if you are going to take the more scenic and not so “paved” road around Maui ending up in Kula or turning around and driving back the same way you came.  You will find the reverse drive just as beautiful as when you came in. Unless you have an SUV or truck I would advise taking this route.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to switch drivers at this point.  It can really be exhausting making this trek.  Lastly, get yourself settle back in your hotel room with a hot steam shower and a Mai Tai to relax.  You will be ready for a nap.





Wrapping “UP” Maui

Over the last couple weeks I have taken you around the south coast of Maui and up to the northwest. Other Hana and the north shore, the only thing left is to go “up”.  When I refer to “up” I am talking about upcountry Maui.  Perhaps you have heard about it?  Maui isn’t always about beachcombing and golf.  Upcountry Maui provides visitors and locals alike with a cool breeze, canopy of willowy pine trees and the scent of fresh lavender as you travel your way up to Haleakala.

Towering over the island of Maui and visible from just about any point, Haleakala Crater is a force of nature in every sense.  At 10,023 feet above sea level, this dormant volcano is the stage for a breathtaking range of landscapes – and skyscapes.  Haleakala means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, and legend goes that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer.

Sunrises and sunsets are only tow of the many reasons to visit Haleakala National Park.  Spanning more than 30,000 acres of public land, the stunning landscapes range from Mars – like red deserts and rock gardens near the summit to lush waterfalls and streams in the parks coastal Kipahulu section, near Hana and the beautiful Pools of Oheo.

There are numerous hiking trails that offer solitude and scenic views, while guided hikes and horseback rides provide an expert’s insight in addition to the natural beauty. There are more endangered species here than any other National Park Service, like blooming ahinahina (silversword) and nene (Hawaiian goose), our state bird.

However, taking the journey along the way to the top of the crater is an amazing experience in itself. So many tourists opt to get up extremely early and start their trek to the top for sunrise.  It is important to note they now require advance reservations for admittance to the observatory at these early hours.  I personally would rather sleep in, avoid the traffic and leave when there is daylight. So, go jump in your rental car and set your GPS to Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm.  This is going to get you started on your journey to the top of Haleakala.   Grab your Starbuck’s on the way out of town and fill up your gas tank as there aren’t many options on your way.

As you begin your climb towards Kula you will pass a sign for Historic Makawao Town.  Don’t forget about this stoplight.  You will want to visit this quaint little town on your way back.  But for now keep going “up” and follow the directions to AKL.  This beautiful hidden gem is one of my favorite places on Maui. I promise you will love it.   The views are breathtaking and so are their lavender scones and lavender tea (breakfast snack).  BTW, a must have is the Lavender Body Butter. If you are concerned about not having enough room in your suitcase, you can now purchase a small assortment of AKL products at the “From Hawaii with Love” store at the OGG airport after you pass security (you can carry it on).

Make sure you bring a sweater and a light rain jacket it might be cool and misty.  I always pack and travel with my Arc’teryx light down hoody – even when I go to warm destinations.  If you don’t have one of these super light jackets you are so missing out.  It is my pillow on the plane, my jacket for windy evening walks on the beach and my inner layer when I go into higher cooler altitudes (Haleakala).

You might have noticed I always plan my travels around food favorites.  So, you have a choice.  If you don’t have breakfast snacks at AKL Lavender Farm you can always visit Kula Bistro or swing by Grandma’s Coffee House.  They are both super cute and have tons of charm.  Make certain you save room for lunch later down the road.

The next destination on your list is Ulupalakua Vineyards and country store.  That’s right, Maui has a winery and you are about to experience their tasting room.  Make certain you pick up a bottle of the Hula O Maui Pineapple sparkling wine.  It is a total score and they ship too.  After you wrap up your brief visit to the winery, walk across the street to the Ulupalakua Ranch Store.  This little western style general store is where you are going to have lunch on the back porch.  I promise you that you will experience one of the most amazing burgers stacked with all freshly grown upcountry veggies made outside on their massive grill. This might be the best burger I have ever eaten.  It is so good that I request to go here for my Birthday every year.

At this point, you should backtrack just a little bit and keep on going to the top of Haleakala.  Would I go to the top?  Yes, it is worth it but if it’s raining at the winery, I am not sure that I would. If you opt not to go to the top, visit the small shops throughout Kula.  There are beautiful glass galleries, artist studios and a really great gift emporium at the Kula Lodge known as the Kula Marketplace.

Regardless if you chose to explore Kula or go to the top of Haleakala you still have to come down off the crater.  Hopefully, you will remember that intersection for Makawao town from your way up.  As you descend, take a right at the sign and follow the little country road into the Paniolo town (Hawaiian Cowboy). Makawao is a soulful eclectic little town. It has tons of character and unique little shops.  Unfortunately, the T. Komoda Store & Bakery will be closed (they usually sell out by 10 am) but you can always come back up if you decide to make a second trip to upcountry to visit Olinda.  I won’t elaborate much on Olinda but just know it is home to one of the most peaceful forests you might ever see.  It is located about 7 miles from Makawao and has a 1.1 mile trail.

As you wrap up your visit to Makawao you are going to be ready for dinner.  If you are anything like me, you are exhausted I highly suggest visiting Polli’s.  Polli’s has really good Mexican food in a super laidback atmosphere.  It is probably one of the best on Maui (the other is Frida’s in Lahaina).  If you aren’t up for Mexican and are looking for a little more upscale eatery, you should definitely jump back in your car and visit Haliimaile General Store for dinner (  You can’t go wrong with either choice.

The day will have been long but hopefully you have enjoyed your upcountry adventure.  There are as many things to do in upcountry Maui.  You could spend days up there zipping, hiking, camping, exploring, etc.  Who knows you might even run into Oprah at Grandma’s.  If you are into outdoor adventures and the beach is not a priority really dig deep and spend as much time as possible up there.

Here is a brief recap of my faves for upcountry:

Places to Visit and Shop:

  • Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
  • Ulupalakua Vineyards
  • Ulupalakua Ranch Store
  • Kula Marketplace
  • Proteas of Hawaii
  • Maui Hands
  • Haleakala National Park

Places to Snack and Eat:

  • AKL
  • Grandma’s Coffee Shop
  • Ulupalakua Ranch Store
  • Kula Lodge (only order the salads or outdoor brick oven pizza)
  • Makawao Steakhouse
  • Polli’s
  • Haliimaile General Store

Places to Stay:

  • Lumeria Maui