Maui Vacation Recap (Part I)

I returned from paradise one week ago today, and let me be perfectly honest with you: I just cannot recover. Seriously. It’s been struggle city over here. Is it possible to go to Hawaii and return to your regular life unchanged? I’d argue absolutely not.

So, where do I even start? I guess by saying, If you haven’t been to Hawaii/Maui and ever get the chance, please don’t pass it up. Not like I think you would, but really — GO. It’s like Heaven, only you can get there in an airplane, and you still need to eat food. And bring a suitcase.

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Ever since I went to Maui at age 12 with my parents, it has been my favorite place in the world (to which I’ve been) — and returning the second time only solidified that further. I’m obsessed with this island and its raw, natural beauty, and would be lying if I said I haven’t been peeking at apartments on Craigslist the past few days. Hey, a girl can dream…

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We had the best time. THE BEST. I really couldn’t have asked for a better trip (or a better first trip with the boy — we quickly discovered that we travel together smashingly). The weather, the beaches, the Pacific Ocean, the resort, the activities we did, the Jeep we rented, the food, the laughs, the whales we saw from shore, the live music we heard at all the local bars and restaurants — everything was spectacular.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was the day we did the Road to Hana, which I’m not going to review here as it warrants a post of its own in the near future. I’ll just give you a little teaser from that day-to-beat-all-days:

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Yeah. It was really that stunning. & yes, I’m available as a travel iPhone photographer. 😉

So, let’s do a “best of” recap from my trip (aka, my personal faves):

Best Day Trip/Activity: Road to Hana. This 12-hour day trip was one of my favorite days in a loooong time. Review to come shortly!

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Best Beach: Big Beach in South Maui, just south of Wailea. We were absolutely blown away by this beach and agreed it was the best we’ve visited…like, ever, anywhere. You could stand in water up to your shoulders and see down to your feet. It was unreal.

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Best Restaurant: Duke’s. We just loved this little ocean-side tiki bar of a spot and their amazing fish tacos (me) and fish sandwiches (him). The food, the atmosphere, the live music at night — it was all just right, and a short walk down the beach path from our hotel. We could roll in off the beach in swimsuits and feel right at home. My idea of doing everything right.

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They also serve their fish sandwich (which Tyler LOVED and is still talking about) on these rad purple sweet bread rolls (that I’m trying unsuccessfully to order online!).
This is the closest image I could find to replicate it (thanks, Pinterest):

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Best Place We Watched the Sunset: Sugar Cane Hawaiian Grill & Rum House in Lahaina. Sipping cocktails on the second-floor patio while an easy-voiced 20-year-old aspiring musician from New Jersey sang Jack Johnson songs while the sun set over the Pacific was a pretttty fantastic moment.

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Best Place To See the Hippies: Pa’ai. I’d read about how eccentric and eclectic and hippie-esque this town was, and I was so happy it lived up to those expectations and feel I have to mention it in this review because I just thought it was the coolest. The final town you drive through before officially setting out on the Road to Hana, Pa’ai was such a fun, laid-back, dreadlocks-and-barefeet laden town, and I wish I’d had more time to check out the shops and restaurants and cafes and just explore it. We stopped there on both the way out and way back to go to Mana Foods, this great little local health food grocery store (think a small, quirky version of Whole Foods) that was always teeming with people (maybe about half of whom were wearing shoes). There’s also a colorful cafe called Cafe Mambo that has a sister restaurant in the Hamptons, so that was fun to see a New York reference halfway across the world.

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Best Live Entertainment: Old Lahaina Luau.

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Touted as Maui’s premier luau, this show right in the town of Lahaina sells out nightly and we just barely squeezed in — I called our first morning there, and the next available tickets were for our last night. Everyone (taxi drivers, store owners, our hotel concierge) expressed tremendous surprise that we got in at all, so we had high expectations for this show after the glowing reviews, and we weren’t disappointed.


And by “weren’t disappointed,” I mean I became entirely convinced throughout the course of the evening that my new calling in life was, without a doubt, to move to Maui and become a hula dancer at this very luau. 

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It’s Maui’s only authentic luau, telling the story of Hawaii’s origins, and it was really well-done and served as a great last-night-of-vacation activity. Although the tickets are a bit pricey, they include open bar, a delicious buffet of traditional Hawaiian food, and a great show, so we were really glad we went and I’d recommend it if you’re in Maui.

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Soooo now I’m totally missing this place more than before, if even possible, after writing this post! Hope you guys enjoyed these little snippets of my favorite place, and I’ll be sure to recap the Road to Hana soon.

Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever been, and why?

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Friday Five: Eating Healthy on Vacation

helllloooo, friends! it’s no secret i’ve been MIA in the blogosphere lately, and i’ve had good reason: i was halfway around the world, trying to figure out a way to stay in Maui forever. i maintain that God allows Maui to exist to give us a glimpse of what Heaven will be like. i will absolutely be reviewing my trip at length in upcoming posts, but today, i’m joining up with our DC gals Mar, Courtney & Cynthia for the Friday Five Link-up. since this week’s theme revolves around food & drink, i thought i’d keep it vacation-relevant:

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i’m definitely someone who takes my healthy-eating habits on vacation with me and makes every effort to eat as healthy as possible, especially when i’m on a vacation in a tropical place, where i want to be running outside and wearing bikinis every day. the boy and i did really well on our food choices for this trip and i came back feeling great and healthier than ever, and am committed to maintaining these habits!

ONE: all the fruit. i was craving fruit the whole trip, thanks to the endless sunshine & summery days. apples, mangoes, bananas, dried figs, berries — these became staples in our diet, and were so easy to pack on our day trips. eating multiple pieces of fruit a day also totally curbed any sweets hankerings, and a week without chocolate was much easier than i would have thought, especially when all i could think about was mangoes!

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TWO: eat the fishies
. every time we went out to eat, i ordered grilled fish tacos or a salad with grilled fish. light, healthy and just the right amount of filling, i consider fish the perfect meal to stick to when on a tropical vacation. i’m sure it goes without saying, but the fish in Maui was sooooo good. Hawaii has a local fish called Ono, which means “delicious,” that lives up to its name. we found the cutest little beachside tiki restaurant called Duke’s just a short walk from our hotel that had great fish tacos & sandwiches, and live music during early evening and sunset. such a gem of a spot.

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THREE: easy on the alcohol. because let’s face it: too much is never good! neither of us are big drinkers, and coupling that with the fact that we wanted to wake up early every day to work out before adventuring, we barely drank on this trip — and it felt amaaaaazingggg. no wine with dinner, no random day drinks at the beach — and the few times we did order drinks, i tried to be adventurous and order tropical cocktails that i wouldn’t have at home, of which i knew i’d never drink more than one or two.

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Mai Tais are musts in Hawaii, but they really didn’t do much for me, which i guess was a good thing, as i was one and done (and felt great the next morning to run at 8am!).

FOUR: walk the aisles. we were super fortunate to have a big grocery store across the street from our hotel, which we frequented for our breakfast foods and daily staples. not only did we save a lot of $ this way, but we made much healthier food choices and saved time when on the Road to Hana or at the beach by packing snacks. fruit, nuts, bars (Larabars are still my faves), raw veggies, almond crackers, Puffins, coffee — we became experts at healthy vaca snacking!

FIVE: kombucha. this i’m adding as my own personal Maui-specific newbie addition, as i tried a couple of kombucha brands and flavors on this trip and became a believer. kombucha became my new champagne this past week — love those bubbles!

Maui’s Valley Isle Kombucha in Lilikoi (passion fruit) was a refreshing beach day treat,

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& i realllllly loved Health Ade’s Power Greens. this hybrid kombucha and pressed green juice concoction was phenomenal. of course, i found this in the San Francisco airport and the local store by me doesn’t have this flavor yet, but i’m hoping that changes soon!

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at $6 a bottle they’re certainly not cheap, but on top of being so delicious, they’re good for you, so i can justify this indulgence every now and then.

enjoy your Friday and hope your weekend starts off wonderfully! i’ll be sure to give you the low-down on my trip to Maui soon! 🙂

Best thing you ate/drank this week?
How do you (try to) eat healthy on vaca?

MIMM (Happy Leap Year!)

Despite the fact that I could nahhhhht get up to workout this morning, I’m actually in a rather chipper mood for a Monday and totally ready to get this week underway, so I figured this happy Monday morning mood was a good excuse to bring back the Marvelous in My Monday linkup hosted by Katie.

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Today is a “stolen” day! #leapyear2016

I love how Google visually interpreted this day — so stinkin’ cute! And totally prepping us for the Spring mentality (woot!).

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Anyone else have the “I love any excuse to celebrate anything out-of-the-ordinary-and-cool” gene? I think I got it from my mom. I like that we have an extra day of joy in 2016, as I’ve already determined that this is going to be an amazing year for me (and hopefully you feel the same for you!).

This was a cool fun-facts read about Leap Year: 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know.

Anyone else have an amazing weekend? It was beautiful here — Spring was really trying to rear her pretty little head — and I took advantage of it by running both mornings. Saturday was a 5.5 miler (half solo, half with the boy), and then we started off a lovely Sunday with 7-8 miles in the sunshine,

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then headed to Hillsong NYC for another fantastic service.

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I really love this church and am so glad to be back in the habit of going regularly, and it’s even more special to be able to go with him. ❤ I’ve been to a lot of churches in my life, and I have to say I’ve never experienced anything quite like Hillsong. It’s truly special.

We then took advantage of the 60-degree weather by walking over to the charming Bryant Park and enjoying the day for a bit. It’s so lovely to be in love in the sunshine, isn’t it?? 🙂

IMG_9066.JPGIn some positive running news, I decided to switch from my Asics to my Nike Air Zoom Fly 2s this past week to see how my legs adjusted, and I’m pretty pleased with the result. The Nikes are more flexible and minimalist and I have a softer footfall, and I feel good after a few days of running in them. I think there really is something to the whole “rotate your running sneakers” thing, for me at least. I’m bringing these to Maui with me (oh, did I mention we leave in two days?!) for some good beach running.

618Cvj51M9L._UX500_.jpgAnd because I’m having trouble staying focused on anything other than the fact that I’m going to HAWAII IN TWO DAYS, let me just leave you with this fun fact to whip out at your next cocktail party:

The Hawaiian Alphabet Has 12 Letters

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Hope your Monday is marvelous, loves! ❤

Weekend highlights?
Do you rotate your sneakers?
Movie suggestions for my flights?

Thinking Out Loud (Thursday)

heyoooo to Thursday’s link-up with Amanda @ Running with Spoons!

1.  recipe. so the last thing i just read before starting this blog post was this amazing-looking recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie, which i now feel the necessity of making this weekend (substituting coconut flour).

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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2. running. i’m in serious need of a good run and it’s sort of driving me nuts today. i’ve been fighting off a cold/sore throat/weird stomach thing all week so have been trying to take it easy (and sleep a lot!), but i’m dying to run. i might try to get in a few quick miles tonight after my client session and do some longer ones this weekend.

3. reading. stoked to start peeking at this lil gem after i finish this post:

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eeeeee cannot wait for this trip! one week from today, i’ll be on the beach in my fave place. ❤

4. & more reading. speaking of…does anyone have any good book suggestions for me to take on the trip? i like a well-written, descriptive, this-person-can-really-manipulate-language-and-tell-a-great-story-and-make-you-feel-all-the-things novel. nothing light and kitschy, please. no more Girls on the Train or anything Moriarty.

5. watching. i recently got into Blue Bloods (thanks to my parents) on Netflix and have to say, i like Donnie Wahlberg even better in his second attempt at the spotlight.

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i’m really liking this show, despite thinking a cop show wasn’t my thing.
the cast is pretty great and i love seeing all the NYC neighborhoods.

6. eating. i can’t get enough of it today. when i’m sick, that’s pretty much all i crave. i feel like i want to move somewhere tropical and start growing mangoes right about now.

7. drinking. i’m drinking JUST WATER this week b/c i temporarily broke up with wine. i know, i KNOW, but it’s actually been an easy break! i guess part of it is being a sicky, but i haven’t even craved my (almost-nightly) glass for a second since being out on Saturday night. maybe my body is just saving up for all those fun cocktails in Maui… 🙂

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8. working. 
ever feel like you want to choose your next job based upon the frequency it allows you to wear gym clothes/sweat pants? i’m living that life daily right now. i’m currently wearing tights that have now become footless on one side, and it doesn’t even phase me. my hours are spent counting down the minutes til i can get out of work clothes and into sweats. it’s gotten pretty bad. i really just don’t like real clothes much at all.

9. fashion. Kate Spade’s 75% off Surprise Sales make me very, very happy. if you’re a KS fan and don’t subscribe to the email list, you’re missing some seriously great sales. i just snagged this pretty lil thing for a third of the original price, and i’m so happy with it. everyone needs a fun summer purse in their fave color, right??

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10. wanderlust.
because the soul can dream.

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happy Friday eve, friends!

Tell me a random fun fact from your week!

Friday Five: 5 Weekly Faves

soooo, this is how i’m feeling today:

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and you’ll see why if you keep reading. 🙂

linking up with the DC ladies Mar, Cynthia & Courtney for our weekly dose of Friday Five fun, with this week being a “Free Friday” where we can choose whatsoever topic suits our fancy. as i did a pretty specific one last week on nutrition bars, i decided to go a bit more lax this week and go with a list of random favorite things from the last week of January.

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1. florals. i came home from a double-job, 12-hour workday on Monday (did i mention i’m a therapist a few nights a week now? if you are looking for a therapist or life coach, i’m happy to work with clients remotely as well!) to find these beauties hanging out on my dresser, along with the sweetest note. it was the perfect surprise to end my long day. & i totally won the human lottery, for real. he’s so good. ❤

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2. School of Rock. what do you get when you mix Broadway theater + hilarity + a total Jack Black double + adoooorable and talented children + all the enthusiasm and energy in the world?

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School of Rock the musical, that’s what. this was SUCH a cute show. the lead actor clearly studied Jack Black ad nauseam for this role, and totally crushed it — he was hilarious. and the kids?! OMG they were fantastic. such a wholesome, rowdy, energetic, fun-filled, non-stop show that made you laugh so hard & made you “awwww” & made you feel good about theater still reflecting the genuine heart of humanity at its core. i really, really liked it and would recommend it for all ages. basically if you liked the movie, you’ll love it.

3. bottoms up. i went out with guys from work for a drink last night to Ward III in TriBeCa, a dark little cocktail bar that has a great novelty drink list, talented mixology bartenders, and this menu gem:

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a list of house rules. this adds such character and serves as a great conversation piece. we especially liked #2, Don’t Be Creepy, which lets us gals know that if a guy is bothering us, the bartenders are happy to ask him to leave her alone. genius.

i ordered their signature drink, the Ward III, which was fantastic and one of the best drinks i’ve had anywhere in a long time (also the first, since i haven’t been drinking anything but wine for months!):

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definitely a different order for me, and it was SO good. i’d return just for this.

4. inspiration. i love this.

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5. travel. so, about that first image from this post…

it was entirely apropos for today, as the best thing that happened to me this week was booking a trip yesterday for me and the boy…

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to the beach in that picture above.

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui — i’m coming for you in March. eeeeeeee!! ❤

hope you all are having a fabulous Friday, friends!!

Best part of your week?
What’s on tap for the weekend?