Peaceful Hilton Waikoloa Village

After spending countless hours in the noisy pool area, I realized that there are some very quiet places in the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Tiare, the fragrant Tahitian   gardenia.

Tiare, the fragrant Tahitian gardenia.

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A magenta sunset

A wildfire on the Kona coast has given us a magnificent sunset.
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A Kauai Destination Wedding

As a little girl, I never dreamed of a fancy wedding and a big meringue of a dress. Let’s face it, I never liked being the center of attention.

My husband and I are two introverts who somehow found each other, so a destination wedding, with just the two of us, was ideal. When the time came to plan, we decided on Kauai, mainly because as a kid, one of my favorite movies was Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley.

In the words of Jason Segel’s character in the excellent “Forgetting Sarah Marshall“, “Oh, wedding in Hawaii! Real original.”

My “weddingmoon” process was:

1. Choose a wedding planner, Portraits of Hawaii (It’s startling, their website has not changed in over a decade. Back then, in the Dark Ages, they were one of the only wedding planners online.)
2. Pick a date and location (Sometime in the autumn, Plantation Gardens)
3. Call a travel agent – All Travel (the was pre- “I do it all myself on the Internet”)
4. Pick the hotel – Grand Hyatt  (I wish the Koa Kea existed back then. I love the boutique-y feel of the place. It’s perfect for couples.)
5. Get a wedding dress (off the rack at a boutique on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, CA.) It was a two piece, hand-painted dress by Mandalay, and definitely not meant to be a wedding dress.

That’s it. No muss, no fuss. No stress, whatsoever. In all, I’d say that it took me exactly two days to plan our wedding.

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We did whatever couples do on vacation in Hawaii. We hiked, kayaked the Wailua River, took a boat to the beautiful Fern Grotto, ate a lot of mediocre, overpriced food…and got married somewhere along the way. The only pictures that exist of that time in Kauai are our wedding pictures. It was raining so hard at the Limahuli Gardens, that even with an umbrella, raincoat and a ziploc bag protecting it, my camera was completely underwater and destroyed. Sigh. But, we have the memories.

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It was the trip of a lifetime and we couldn’t have been happier.

About the venue, Plantation Gardens. Love, love, loved it.

KauaiWeddingsphoto courtesy of Plantation Gardens

“Plantation Gardens is a wonderful site for a wedding,” says Carol Ann Davis, owner of Portraits of Hawaii, our wedding planner.  “It formerly housed a lava rock plantation manager’s home which has been converted into a great restaurant with good food and a wonderful atmosphere.  The restaurant still maintains the feeling of the old Hawaiian style family home.  Guest dine on a covered lanai which overlooks an very large amazing orchid garden.  When a couple gets married at Plantation Gardens, they have a private space since not many people are there during the day.  There are beautiful gardens and a lovely pond on the grounds for photos and directly across the street is the Sheraton Beach and great spots for beach and sunset photos.  It is a taste of old Hawaii which has been preserved.”

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What you need for your Hawaii destination wedding:

There are no blood tests required and no paperwork that must be sent in advance of your scheduled license appointment.

  1. There are no residence or citizenship requirements.
  2. Legal age to marry is 18 years for bride and groom.
  3. Proper identification for bride and groom (State issued driver’s license or government issued ID)
  4. There’s no waiting period. You are free to marry once the license is obtained.
For more information about the wedding process and to download applications for the wedding license, go to Hawaii State Department of Health .
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Ah, Positano…

I admit it, I am a rom-com fan. One of my faves is Only You starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr.. It’s light and fluffy, just as chick flicks should be.

It has adorable (albeit very 90’s) clothes, Robert Downey, Jr. and gorgeous Italian locations. As my friend and one-time travel partner, tween author Nina Berry, knows, I tend to watch movies with glamorous locations.

Nina went to Positano a while back, and posted this picture on her facebook page. I totally covet this view from her room at the Palazzo Murat. That’s what I call a room with a view…positano

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Spencer Beach Park

Our monthly Costco run is the perfect excuse to take the family over to the other, drier, side of the island to enjoy their sandy beaches.

Spencer Beach Park is a lovely, family-friendly crescent of golden sand. Warm, gentle waves are perfect for frolicking. Yes, I said it. Frolicking.

Enjoy…

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Worth the wait…

A seven year wait

A seven year wait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After coveting everyone’s flowers at the Hilo Orchid Show back in 2006, I ventured into the sellers’ area and purchased a little orchid keiki from Mac’s Orchids out of Florida. He told me the it would take a while for them to bloom…and almost seven years later, here they are. Just gorgeous.

 

 

 

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An olivine inspiration

I hadn’t seen my friend Shirley for over 25 years, and when she emailed to say she would be on my island, I was thrilled. We were staying in the same area on the Kohala Coast, so I suggested we meet at one of my favorite spots.  A-bay is a gorgeous little beach, and was perfect for our keiki (children) to frolic.

While waiting for her to show up, I was looking for puka shells, when I noticed tiny pieces of olivine (aka peridot) in the sand. Olivine is a common mineral component of Hawaiian lavas and one of the first crystals to form as magma cools. There’s an entire olivine beach at the south point of Hawaii island.

 

The rough little nuggets of olivine inspired me to make some new pieces. Since selling olivine from the beach is disrespectful (and illegal!) here, one of my favorite gemstone dealers had some untreated peridot beads just waiting for me to purchase.

Here are some of my inspiration pieces for those born in August…or who love the kiwi-green hue of peridot. I added glass earrings because their beautiful color reminded me of peridot. Blog readers receive 30% off the August Birthstone Collection with code OLIVINE30.  Offer expires 07/30/12.

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Marriott Waikoloa…perfection

I live on the wet, rainforest side of the Big Island. It’s lush and tropical, but every once in a while, I need an entire day (or two) of sunshine.

Hawaii residents are offered kama’aina rates at local hotels at a discount. But, I’ve found that I can get even better bargains on Priceline.com. Using “Waikoloa” and “resort” as my search options, I can always get the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa for about $100/night using “Name Your Own Price” bidding.

 

There’s a gorgeous pool area, waterslide for the kids, beach activities and many restaurants and shops nearby.

Another day in paradise…

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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

In my quest to broaden my baking horizons, I ordered Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule, just because of its awesome title. Now, I’m of the belief that baked goods must have full-fat everything, so call me a skeptic.

Surprisingly, there’s not too much difference between my normal cupcake recipes and vegan ones. Instead of buttermilk, eggs and oil, I used canola oil and soy milk curdled with a little apple cider vinegar.

 

The cupcakes baked up beautifully. They were so dark and shiny…my baking cocoa of choice is Double Dutch Dark Cocoa from King Arthur Flour.

 

 

The frosting required some special ingredients. I used Earth Balance margarine and shortening along with my vanilla extract and powdered sugar.

 

My taste testers, cupcake aficionados aged 3 and 8, thought the finished product was fabulous. But, they are children and anything with a ton of frosting on it is fabulous. The adult jury is still out on these.

I am still on my quest for a tasty vegan cupcake recipe…

 

 

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Aqua aura quartz crystal jewelry

What is aqua aura quartz, exactly? It’s natural quartz that’s been coated with gold fumes to achieve the most gorgeous aqua hue with iridescent sheen.

I’ve searched high and low for the perfect specimens and I’ve found them. At about one inch long, they’re

Having them electroformed was a bit of a process, but the outcome was breathtaking…

I have a limited supply of these pendants available at Kahili Creations. If you’d like a custom design, feel free to contact me directly.

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