Wanderlust: Maui, Hawaii {part 1: travel tips}

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”


On a whim, my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Hawaii to celebrate multiple milestones – Our overdue honeymoon, grad school graduation and our new business venture. At first, I thought it was a pipe dream. Hawaii? That’s a 12 hour plane ride, and I’m pretty sure I have a mild case of ADD. Sitting in an airport or on a plane with no way to escape wasn’t exactly my idea of fun. Fortunately, I put my travel fears aside, downloaded a few books on my Nook and booked the trip with the help of an amazing (and very patient) travel agent. It was an unbelievable vacation filled with amazing views, expeditions and beautiful sunsets. Even though everything was incredible, we learned a few things along our Maui travel journey. Here are a few tips to help you plan your Hawaiian vacation.

IMG_4850Travel Tips:

  • Arrive early to check your bags. We arrived a little later than expected due to a wrong turn and missed our flight that was still 40 minutes away from departing. Thanks, MIA and USAir!
  • Plan to arrive in Maui early during the day. We arrive late thanks to our departure debacle and drove from the airport to the hotel in pitch darkness. We missed the views but woke up the next morning in paradise.

  • If possible, book a resort that offers a breakfast package. Food is a little expensive and it was great having an option to run downstairs, grab a bite to eat, leave a tip and go. {Here’s an example – Breakfast at the hotel would have been $55 for two people. Since we booked the breakfast package we paid just the tip, which was around $10 or 20% of the total.}
  • Plan and book your tours early, but don’t book anything for the day you arrive. You never know what roadblocks you might experience. {Can you tell I’m a little bitter about missing our original flight?}
  • The Tour to Hana via tour guide is a must! The roads are narrow and you’ll miss the views if you’re driving yourself. Plus, the tour guide will take you to all the hot spots and will even pull over on the side of the road for photo ops. We used Valley Isle Excursions and I highly recommend them. The tour included breakfast and lunch, plus we stopped for banana bread, coffee and wine. Also, sit on the left side of the van. The views are better!

    Road to Hana

  • With that being said, book the Tour to Hana or the Haleakala Crater tour on your first real day in Maui. You’ll still be getting acclimated to the time change and it’s easier to wake up before 4 a.m. on the first and second day. Plus the tour gives you a good sense of where everything is on the island.
  • Leave one or two days open to enjoy the beaches and resort pool.
  • Divide the island up and book your day trips in sections if you plan to explore. We stayed in Lahaina, and the drive from the west side to the north, south and east side of the island was about 45 minutes to each area.
    Maui-Illustrated-Map-Madeline-Trait{image source}
  • Everything is outside and it’s really hot. Honestly, I think I over packed and probably could have gotten away with bringing just one carry on with flat sandals, bathing suits, maxi dresses, shorts and cute tops. No need for anything fancy, it’s an island. Also, a crossover bag is the way to go when sightseeing. And, don’t forget some floppy hats.


{Part 2: who, what, wear – Maui}


In a state of confusion

Lately, I have been struggling with what to do with this blog.  I love writing about fashion, food and events, but I feel like my posts are random and have no real meaning.  I want to connect with my readers and carry on a conversation.  What was once used to chronicle my wedding journey kinda fell flat after the wedding.  Maybe I lost my purpose? I’ve dabbled with a few other blogs — Writes of Style and Dear Martha Blog, but always kept this one close to my heart.  I don’t want to abandon it completely, but it needs to be refreshed and rejuvenated.  Over the next few days, I will be thinking of ways to provide useful content that flows.  I’ll be thinking of ideas while vacationing in Hawaii. What better place to find creativity and zen? I’ll be back soon with photos, reviews and a tale or two.

Thanks for reading! See you soon!



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Blogger Inspiration: The Sweetest Thing

Confession: I have a blog crush on Emily Gemma and her blog The Sweetest Thing.  I swoon over all of her outfit creations, and thanks to the app LIKEtoKNOW.it, I have purchased many items with a quick click.  Not sure my husband is fond of the app or my clothing obsession.

If you haven’t checked out The Sweetest Thing yet, you have to take a peek.  It’s a great style/beauty blog with fabulous fashion ideas and makeup tips.  Also, a lot of her clothes are from Nordstrom, my new favorite place to shop. Especially online, because they offer free shipping and free returns.

Here’s my latest purchase (minus the bag –I’m still working on that!), it’s similar to something she recently put together.


Blogger Inspiration

Blogger Inspiration by undomesticbride featuring high rise skinny jeans

Spinning out of control

Last week, my husband and I finally took a Spin class at a local studio. It’s something we’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t gotten around to it until recently.

We arrived a little late but quickly got acclimated and eased into the heart pumping experience. Although I haven’t taken a Spin class in quite some time, the pace of the class was not intimidating, and thanks to a great play list the time flew by. Additionally, the instructor was great and made sure our bikes were properly set up and checked in with us throughout the class.

If you’ve been watching the new E! reality show Hollywood Cycle or just want to try something new, and I think you should, here are a few tips.

1) Where to go -Classes are offered at gyms and fitness studios.  From my experience, the studios in my area have less bikes in the  room so there are less people and you get a personalized session with added help from the instructor.  This can be a positive or a negative. More attention means you’ll be pushed harder and you’ll be {nicely} called out  for slacking off.  The gyms typically have more bikes and you can hide in the back and just do your thing.  Check out your local gyms and studios to see if they offer a free passes for new clients.

2) What to wear – This isn’t the Tour de France, but since you’ll be drenched in sweat opt for moisture wick clothes with good breathability, and don’t forget your favorite gym shoes.

3) What to bring – A huge bottle of water, a towel and a positive attitude.

4) What to expect – The class will begin with the instructor asking if anyone is new or needs help setting up, and shortly after the class will get going with the instructor guiding the class and telling participants what to do, when to increase or decrease the resistance and when to sit and stand. The class is fast-paced but you are encouraged to go at your own pace to ensure you are enjoying the ride and getting the most out of the experience.