TRAVEL GUIDE TO KAUA’I, HAWAI’I:
Have you ever dreamed of vacationing to the Garden Isle of Hawai’i?
Or maybe you already have an adventure-seeking, jungle-filled trip on the books?
Well, today I’m going to share my tips, favorite spots + recommendations for the island of Kaua’i.
Pack your bags + let’s get going. . .
You may have seen little glimmers of this beautiful place on Instagram. (At least, that’s where I found out about it!)
The Palmwood is so beautifully described as a curated lodging experience on the island of Kauai.
Which is exactly what it was. . .
Tucked Away in the mountains on the north east side of the island, this little gem was worth the hype.
We drove north from the airport, after stopping at Koloa Rum company, passing Kapa’a Town and found ourselves in the more jungly part of Kaua’i. We took a right turn off the main road and followed a sometimes-paved, sometimes-dirt road further into the lush, green east side of the island.
Sharing some of my favorite photo moments + the raw, real way my year played out.
The post is long, but it’s from the heart. Wishing you the happiest new year! [Read more…]
As I shared in last year’s post about our Palm Tree Christmas – things are just different here in the tropics. Yes, obviously, we don’t have snow (well, besides on the top of Mauna Kea). I think the lack of fluffy white outside allows the holidays to sneak up on you because there’s not something physical falling out of the sky to cue our minds ❄︎
Although, that’s actually not the most significant thing I notice! It’s that traditions are different here, the feeling is different — I feel almost like I’m looking through a window at the rest of the world as they cozy up + enjoy the season!
While in Kaua’i, I felt anything but “in the spirit” and came home with sort of a heavy heart. Seeing many beautiful images on my social feeds of gifts under the tree, mantles decorated and festivities underway made me feel like I was grazing over the holidays!
The home we’re renting is currently in the process of renovation to be placed on the market so we didn’t quite deck the halls (hey! at least we have our darling tree up). We were supposed to be in Kaua’i the first week of December, leaving the following two weeks to finish up our holiday gifting — but as you read in my last post our trip was delayed to the second week of the month. This left me panicked upon our arrival home wondering, overwhelmed, How is it already Christmas?! (I’m sure you can relate in some way) Yep, the last minute scramble is on. Shipping parcels to far away family + friends, sending out client gifts (because our clients ROCK) and placing the stamps on our beloved Christmas cards before dropping them off. December has certainly whooshed by this year!
Remember that one time that we postponed our much anticipated trip, due to weather?
And then felt really silly about it?
But were then reassured in a multitude of ways that everything happens for a reason?
Yea, that was this week summed up in a couple of sentences.
If you saw my Instagram post earlier this week, you got a dose of what happened. After we called off our trip – flustered, confused, annoyed – we headed back to the house to dive into some serious work. Because, if we weren’t headed off for an amazing vacation as planned, you damn well better believe we were going to get some work done! As we sat down, started mapping out our week + creating a to-do list, the sun came out. Yes, THE SUN. You’ve got to be kidding me. The thing that had been hiding behind some god-awful looking black, bushy, pouring rain clouds just an hour before… It came out.
And left me feeling like ‘why didn’t we just suck it up and go?’
Fast forward to that evening –
We checked a few weather cams from the resort we were going to be staying at + reviewing.
Sure enough: BLACK, DISMAL, RAINY.
This brought me comfort. We wanted to experience all Kauai has to offer + if the weather is not so cooperative, we’re not able to do so.
We left our bags packed, cameras charged + simply moved our trip back a few days after the tropical storm will be long gone (hopefully).
The next morning around 7am I receive a call from my very panicked mother in tears, telling me she had severe chest pains. I rushed out of the house so fast, in my pajamas, unbrushed teeth and all. We were in the ER until late afternoon. She is okay now, they say it was stress related and not a heart attack. This didn’t make it any less scary in the moment. I’m so glad she’s alright + I’m so glad we were here. This showed me: we weren’t meant to go to Kaua’i when we had scheduled.
The main takeaway for me (besides hold your loved ones close, manage stress, take care of yourself)?
Everything happens for a reason.
Sure, we may not see the ripples right away, but I find comfort in trusting that things will play out the way their meant to play out.
Trust your gut, lean into something when it feels right. We have to learn to listen to our inner voice to know what’s right for you and actually honor that.
The best laid plans often go awry. Sometimes things shift and change. Sometimes you have a set back, or a shitty day, or you fall behind. Sometimes the universe gives you something you weren’t ready for. Sometimes the outcome doesn’t look the way you planned. Sometimes it doesn’t all go the way you thought it would, yet somehow it always works out as it should.
So today, wherever you are + whatever you’re in the middle of — take a moment to pause and reflect.
Don’t focus on the should-have’s + the could’ve beens. Focus on what is, and what will be.
Remember everything has a way of working out. I genuinely believe that you’re right where you were meant to be.
This year, we celebrated our Thankgiving island style. After thoroughly enjoying it, I thought I would share our Tropical Thanksgiving Dinner here on the blog and give the simple steps on how I prepared this holiday gathering!
I never thought I would pair the word ‘tropical’ with Thanksgiving but here we are, in 2016, ladies + gents . . .
And I’m doing just that!
Since Aaron + I weren’t spending our holiday on the east coast, as we have for our entire relationship, we decided we wanted to go the extra length to make our first tropical holiday with my mom special. At first, my idea of having a turkey dinner on the beach sounded far-fetched and more like a hassle than anything. But after some planning, refining our list of ‘essentials’ and making a day out of it: it was delightfully + beautifully simple.
As a photographer + blogger, I have hords of photos on my phone, computer, harddrives, etc.
It’s messy. It’s scattered.
And it’s certainly not all framed or tangible in photo albums or our space.
There is something beautiful about capturing a moment when you’re at the beach, out with friends or on vacation and having that photo not get lost in the noise of your camera roll. Or on an SD card that is screaming for you to edit the images as soon as you get home. (forget your inbox! don’t you want access to these photos?!) No thank you.
Believe me, I know everyone loves the convenience of instant digital (I do too) but I also love instant film + instant printing too.
One of my favorite gifts I’ve received in the past year was a beautiful album that fit 128 instax minis into its pages. Thank you, Mom! There they were: the raw moments, silly splendor, crazy nights, simple moments. All captured (and printed) in the moment through laughs and cries alike. No stress of editing, or getting the perfect shot, or ordering prints online.
This is why instant printing is so powerful. Not to mention – fun!
Instant printing is perfect for events (weddings, parties, holiday shindigs) and for kids who are interested in photography but I also love them for travel – you can instantly capture something and give the print to friends or strangers that you meet + photograph!
Ever since being introduced to the Polaroid Snap + Polaroid Zip, I’m crushing hard! They’re new toys similar to the Instax Mini + I love them. The Snap works similarly to the Instax cameras where you capture the image + then the camera spits out the printed image out the side. We took ours hiking with us and some dear friends and upon reaching the snow covered lake at the top, I reached in my bag + snapped a photo with this, instead of my cell phone. That photo now of our beaming faces serves as a bookmark that makes me smile every time I close my book.
The Polaroid Zip on the other hand is a little instant printer. If you’re hangin’ out with me on Instagram (which I hope you are!) then you may have seen I hosted a giveaway with one of these as the prize earlier this fall! Everyone loved it and went wild for the giveaway! It’s so simple. You just hook up your phone via bluetooth to the printer and instantly print any image. It was perfect when we were setting up Aaron’s little sister’s dorm room. We had taken some photos that day that she wanted up on her bulletin board – boom! – pulled out this guy + there we were! She was freaking out excited about it. See? It’s powerful. Tangible.
PRINT THOSE MEMORIES!
I challenge you this season to capture your favorite memories in the moment and to stress less about the perfect shot. Capturing the moment is important for me (helllllo, looking back at family photos is my favorite) but I never want the stress of digital clutter to get in the way of that.
Break out the polaroid camera and the ‘big’ cameras (ya know, the ones that aren’t attached to Facebook instantly) so that you are savoring and recording the memories, not just posting them. Have a fantastic holiday week + enjoy making those memories!
When we first moved to Hawai’i, all I wanted to do was wear tropical clothes – bright colors, fun prints, etc.
I loved it at first, but then I realized that I’m not on vacation *wait, really?* + that a lot of what I had been wearing didn’t reflect my personal style. I was letting the landscape in which I was living dictate my style. Not necessarily a bad thing, although I wanted to preserve my more simple aesthetic and wear clothes that make me feel comfortable and myself.
I find that with a simple tee + some great denim, you can be yourself – no matter where you are.
If done right, a tee + denim can be the perfect, simple reflection of your style.
I’m going to share some tips to style tees + denim to create an elevated look. . .
Today, I am struggling to find stillness + calm to gather my thoughts. Struggling to find normalcy + to understand.
I am not one to voice my political opinion publicly, yet it just feels wrong to step over today and pretend that I don’t feel the immense emotional weight.
I woke feeling heart broken, not for myself personally, but for our country as a whole. I stand for diversity and inclusiveness and love and freedom. I believe we are people, not parties. That this isn’t a game, a race or a screaming match between parties. This is about people. To everyone who feels unheard, fearful and forgotten by the election results – know, that you are loved. Our skin color, sexual preference, disabilities or where we were born are not reasons that we should be made to feel unsafe and unwelcome. My heart feels so heavy at the weight of this being a reality.
It was hard to get up this morning. To get out of bed, get dressed, make coffee and do anything with focus. I took the day to sit with my thoughts and feelings and really FEEL them before voicing anything. There were a lot of tears and a lot of confusion. BUT as I scrolled through the social space today I was encouraged by all of you who have made this a moment to stand up for positivity, love and dedication to keep moving forward. It’s inspiring and reminds me to continue to love well, fight for others, and stay active.
We’re in this extraordinary thing called life together. Despite where we stand politically, we’re humans first. We are people first. So let’s show our humanity as vibrantly as we possibly can. Remember that this may not be heartbreaking for you personally, but that it may affect someone you love much differently than it personally affects you. [Read more…]