Day 9 ~ Maui ~ Beach Day

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Today was a rest and relaxation day exploring Maui’s sandy beaches. There is a string of beaches along the coast that each have their unique flavor, black beaches included.

“Our beach” across from our condo was our favorite. Tonight Dave grilled on the barbecue and we ate on our lanai. Such a perfectly relaxing day!

lazy days of summer HI style


Kauai ~ Day 8 The Party’s Over ~ Maui

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Westin brunch

Today was a day with mixed feelings;  excitement for the newlyweds to embark on their honeymoon, and sadness for our amazing week long stay in Kauai to come to an end. So it was goodbye to our 5 star resort villa.

Before brunch, Michael and the boys were lounging around the waterfall area, while waiting for the entire group to arrive.

The culminating event on our wedding week itinerary was an extravagant brunch with everyone at the Westin’s outdoor restaurant.

Of course the food, setting, and flowers were perfect. We were all given a gift tucked away in polka-dot bags in the wedding colors. Ally’s family spared no expense in making us feel pampered completely, up until the very end. Everything was so thoughtful.

exquisite wedding centerpiece flowers


Our flight to Maui didn’t leave until late afternoon, so we took this opportunity to visit Hanalei one last time. The plush landscape surrounding the mountainous bay is simply magnificent.  Did you see the “Descendants” movie with George Clooney?  See it, then you’ll too appreciate Kauai’s beauty.

road to Hanalei

We did a little shopping and bought some passion fruit/pineapple jelly that’s made right on the islands, as well as some Pura Vida bracelets at a surf shop. Mike and Ally’s wedding cake was passion fruit, and I fell in love with that taste, hence the jelly purchase. Our travel was at leisure, south to the airport.


The flight to Maui was only less than an hour. We had to convince the rental car company that a 2 door Camaro was not at all what we had in mind when we reserved a mid-size car. Can you imagine trying to sight see out of those small triangular back windows? Anyway, we ended up getting a Subaru Forrester, which turned out to be the perfect beach car for all four of us.

We stayed at the Kamaole Sands condo. Although it was nice enough, it definitely was a downgrade from the 5 star resort villa at the Westin. The grounds were beautiful, and very well kept, but the best part was that it was directly across the street from a lovely beach. Score!

The sunsets from the lanai and the front porch were so pretty.

Maui sunset from our condo

By this time, we were too tired to cook, so we made a trip to a fast food restaurant (which I’m too embarrassed to mention … but starts with an “M”) to pick up some dinner. Then it was time to unpack, relax, then  off to bed.

Aloha to the most beautiful of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai.  Aloha to Maui’s amazing sandy beaches.

Kauai ~ Day 7 ~ Sunset Cruise Na’Pali Coast

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The wedding festivities continued today.  The morning was free for us to get in a little sightseeing before heading south to Port Allen to board a catamaran for a Na’Pali Coast sunset cruise with everyone.

Our first stop was at a lighthouse just down the road at Kilauea.  It was closed at the time we arrived, but the setting was spectacular. We stopped at the “Fantasy Island” waterfall along the way to a picnic lunch at Poipu beach.

Sunset Cruise ~ Na’Pali Coast

Ally’s family was kind enough to treat all their guests to a dinner cruise.  Our cruise was a barefoot one, which allowed us to really feel the boat in order to try to keep our feet planted firmly on the deck (some super bumpy parts). We started at Port Allen in the southern part of Kauai, and cruised for 4 hours or so, along the Na’Pali Coast. GORGEOUS!

We were so lucky to encounter a pod of spinner dolphins frolicking in the ocean right in front of the boat, as well as sea turtles.

velvety spires Na'Pali Coast

We took in the stunning scenery, and ate a lasagna dinner while waiting for the sun to set, revealing the most magnificent blood-orange sunset.

Truly an experience never to be forgotten.

Wedding Day Bliss ~Kauai ~ Day 6

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Day of Fun

Friday, May 18, 2012

Morning relaxation

The big day had finally arrived and was filled with a variety of fun activities for everyone prior to the ceremony that took place at 5:00 that evening.  We had a choice of golf at some fancy course, getting an outdoor massage, exploring on our own, or going on a snorkeling excursion.  My son (groom) chose to go golfing, Diane and Dave went snorkeling at Tunnels, and Ally chose to get a morning massage along with the majority of other guests, including Dustin and me.

I’ve never been so pampered in all my life.  The masseuse used a lavender scented oil while I enjoyed the warm trade winds and gazed at the lovely palm leaves and ocean rocks arrangement below my head rest.  Love, love, loved, this experience!  Refreshing fruited water followed.  I was so relaxed the entire day … funny how that works.

Michael and Ally chose to not see each other the night before, and the day of the wedding.   After the women got their massages, we headed off to the pool.  No boys allowed!  Anyway, this pool was also an infinity pool that overlooked the ocean.  We ordered drinks and lunch (probably shouldn’t of ordered that huge cheeseburger and fries … but YUM!) from the cabana boy, and lounged around relaxing, and enjoying our beautiful surroundings.

Getting Ready

Michael got ready in his room along with the other men.

The women went to Cindy’s room to get ready at 2:30 where Michael and Ally’s friend Annabelle was rockin’ the hairstyling for everyone.

Right before the ceremony, Michael and Ally were blindfolded and led to a  grassy area where the photographers got some great photos. The happy couple were anxious with anticipation and so happy to see share a few special moments together, even though they couldn’t see one another.  So, so, sweet


Waiting for our cue, Michael was nervous and very anxious to see his beautiful bride.

The ceremony took place under a papa’i (little thatched roof hut), located on a cliff overlooking the ocean. When Michael saw Ally in her wedding dress, she  literally took his breath away.  She was so stunning in her elegant gown and my son, so very handsome waiting for his soon-to-be wife to join him.  My son and his bride wrote their own vows, and Ally’s uncle Buddy officiate their union. The ceremony was both touching and lighthearted and evoked both tears of joy and laughter. Afterwards, there were bubbles, cool sunglasses, and quick photos before going on to celebrate.


The day truly was like the most magical dream. My son and Ally were so happy, and all of us got to par-tay like there was no tomorrow! I wish them a lifetime of happiness.


Kauai ~ Day 5 ~ Na Pali Coast & Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Na Pali Coast Hike

Today brought another stunning sunrise, which I unfortunately didn’t see in person, because I needed more sleep! The Na Pali coast hike in the northern part of the island, was on today’s agenda. We drove west through Hanalei and then on to Ke’e Beach, stopping along the way for both ocean and cave photos.

The hike began at Ke’e Beach Park, where a native ranger told us how very difficult this hike can be, and warned us of the many dangers. He said that recently it had rained 36 inches in a 24 hour period, which created a river that washed away the lifeguard post on the beach.   He also told us about a woman who recently lost her life on this hike when she attempted to cross the Hanakapi’ai river to get to the secret beach. Flash flooding is common and caused the river to swell. She slipped on the river rocks, hit her head, and was swiftly washed out to sea.

Oh great, I thought … way to scare the sh%# out of me before I start.   I  continued on anyway, since I had my trusty hiking poles with me, and knew that I had the stamina to do a 10 mile hike in the nearby mountains back home.

view of Ke'e beach from Na Pali coast hiking trail

The trail goes through lush river valleys and is considered to be very strenuous. It rises and falls hundreds of feet at a time repeatedly along the way, as it winds through dense jungles and follows the rugged coastline. The path itself is riddled with tree roots, mud, water, and slippery rocks, making the hike tricky in many parts. It is the stunning panoramic views and the hope to make it to the secret beach two miles ahead that kept me going. Unfortunately, today we forgot to bring along food of any kind, which we desperately needed by the time we were to return. Thank goodness we did have plenty of water to stay hydrated!

After nearly 2 hours of hiking, we came to the “killer river” which needed to be crossed in order to get to the secret sand Hanakapi’ai beach. This death marker was posted somewhere along the trail, which reminded us of the 82 people who had died attempting this hike and the dangerous waters awaiting.

So as soon as I forged the river and scrambled over a bunch of boulders, I wrote a message in the sand that said, “We made it!” The beach was magnificent beyond belief. The water was powerful as it crashed upon the silky sand. We decided that since we didn’t have any nourishment, it wouldn’t be wise to continue on another 2 miles ahead to a waterfall, plus I was exhausted.

Rehearsal Dinner ~ Westin

After the hike we rested up and relaxed with a swim and a hot tub. While getting ready for the rehearsal dinner, it started to rain which produced such a beautiful double rainbow arching over the ocean. I considered it to be a positive sign for Michael and Ally’s wedding.

a gift for Mike & Ally

my beautiful family

The rehearsal dinner was held at the resort at the main pool’s bar/restaurant area. We feasted on fish tacos, rice, pulled pork, fresh fruits and vegetables. It was a lively and festive event where the bride and groom-to-be wore pretty fresh leis.

Susan, Ally, David, Michael

The sweetest thing about this evening was when Ally gave Dave and me a card thanking us for raising such an amazing son, and Michael giving Ally’s parents a card from him thanking them for raising such an incredible daughter. Diane and Dustin were thrilled to receive a gift from them as expressed in the photo above.
After enjoying brownie cake pops for dessert (best I’ve ever had!), we headed out to the cliffs over the ocean to launch illuminated lanterns, while making a wish for the bride and groom. There was a little trouble keeping the lanterns lit due to some rain and wind. The colorful tissue paper lanterns would poof up as the heat from the flame at the bottom built up enough hot air, and then we would release it into the sky. It was magnificent to see these floating wonders of wishes float up and over the ocean.

colorful paper lanterns filled with wishes for Mike & Ally

Unfortunately a few of them crashed into the bushes on the cliff and were in perfect position to (maybe) start a fire. Matt risked his life to go out to the cliff’s edge and grab the balls of flames,  while security was shouting for him to come back immediately!  We had to stop the fun at that point, but by that time, there were many glorious lanterns set free into the inky sky, filled with hopes, wishes and dreams for my son and his soon-to-be bride.

Love ~ tomorrow’s the BIG DAY!