Archive for April, 2011

April 30, 2011 by, Emily

While our lives are often busy and hectic, I want to take a minute to remind everyone of the recent crisis in Japan. Now, I know that it’s impossible to forget the tragic events that have been developing on Japan, from the earthquakes to the tsunami and of course the nuclear fallout. But I also realize that it’s easy to get back into our normal routines when we aren’t the ones directly affected by a disaster.

So this is my plea to those of you who have already fallen back into routine: please support those who no longer have a daily routine. After the recent disasters, thousands of people are homeless, jobless, sick, hurting, and even dying. Their loved ones have perished, their hopes have been crushed, and their livelihoods have been taken away. They need our support and our friendship.

The Japanese are a strong and proud people, and rightly so. But even the best amongst us need a little help from time to time. So if you haven’t already, please contact the Red Cross and give to support the Japan Relief effort today. And if you don’t feel like you can help financially right now, please consider volunteering some time to assist in the relief effort or to raise money for the helpless. We can all make a difference if we just try.

I just saw the funniest play! Three of our local high schools got together and contributed students to the making of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.” It was a play that I’d always wanted to see, and this rendition gave me a much longed-for chance. They did not disappoint.

The play itself is about a man who wants to succeed in business, obviously. But he is a lowly window washer who has no real chance at a corporate office. Therefore, he relies on his little handbook (aptly named after the play) to raise him up from window washer to high-powered executive in no time. The circumstances that this character finds himself in are downright hilarious and often times irreverent, but I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good laugh.

Well, okay, I might not recommend it for children, especially since some of the themes are a bit much for a young mind. But any high school aged student and above would have a wonderful time at this play. The tickets are only $15 for adults and $10 for students, and you can buy them from any number of places including Scotty’s Music in Kalaheo, Progressive Expressions in Koloa, Vim ‘n Vigor in Lihue, Jim Saylor Jewelers in Kapaa, and Kilauea Pharmacy.

And if you aren’t going to be on Kauai this weekend, you don’t have to worry. This play is running through the first week of May as well. So if you are going to be on Kauai and want something fun to do that is a bit out of the ordinary, go to this play! The theater is in Lihue at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall off of Hardy Street.

Do you have a large family? How about a big group that all wants to come to Kauai for a week on vacation? Have you noticed the price of hotel rooms lately?

Well, not to worry. If you stay at Aloha Lani, then you won’t have to worry about individual hotel rooms for your whole party. In fact, this vacation rental home can sleep 8 people in beds, a few more on couches and air mattresses and has 4 bathrooms. And the incredible nature of this rental is just beginning.

Aloha Lani is a relatively new rental, built with a combination of modern design and traditional Hawaiian architecture. The ceilings are vaulted and the living room is open and spacious. The house is divided into two sleeping wings, so you can vacation with another family and be perfectly comfortable. Plus, there is a large dining room where you can all come together for meals.

What to know about the cool parts? Well, how about floor-to-ceiling lanai screens that can retract at the touch of a button, allowing you to experience the amazing views of Kauai and get some fresh air while you’re at it? What about a generously-sized lanai hot tub just perfect for evenings of relaxation and fun? What about free wireless internet and a den/office space off the living room that includes a large game table? And have I mentioned recently that each bedroom has its own private bathroom?

Honestly, this house was designed to be everything a tourist could ever want in a vacation home: outstanding elegance, roomy interior, mountain and ocean views, near a golf course, more amenities than any hotel, privacy, privilege, and a high definitional plasma television.

From visiting this vacation home, I can safely tell you that I want to live there. The house itself is perfect, the location is walking distance from nice shops, spas, and restaurants, and the view couldn’t be better. If you rent this place for the week, it will be the most luxurious experience of your life.

April is an interesting time during the year for waves. And if you are going to be in Kauai on vacation and you want to try your hand at surfing, there are some things that you need to know.

For instance, even though it sounds odd, there are really two distinctive seasons for wave formations: winter and summer. Starting in May, the summer season begins and big waves can be found in the South. The winter season is from November through March and it’s a time for large waves in the North and the West.

For beginners, this means something very important. For one thing, you should actually avoid surfing in the South during the summer season and avoid the North and West during the winter season. Why? Well, the waves are not only large – they are enormous. Let’s just say that only the pros go out to those beaches on certain days, and even then they do so at their own risk. While “catching the big one” is a term you will hear often in surfing, beginners should never attempt large waves until they are fully capable of handling small ones… a skill I still do not possess.

Which brings me to April. If you didn’t notice, the winter season for waves usually ends in March and the summer season doesn’t start until May. This leaves April stuck right in the middle, which can be dangerous for tourists. The waves, while returning to normal size in the North and West, can still come in quite large and often times at random. The same occurs in the South. While the waves have been normal up until this point, now you will start to see extreme waves crashing up onto the beaches.

So be safe out there. April is an uncertain time for waves and it’s better to be cautious than to put yourself or your loved ones in danger. While I’m not saying to avoid the beach, I am saying that surfers should take extra care when choosing where to surf and when. Check the surf and ocean reports for daily hazards and up-to-date wave information. Ask a few island residents what the water is doing that day and change your plans accordingly if you need to. And keep a watchful eye on the water. After all, we want you to have fun and come back again.

If you are a woman and planning to be on Kauai this Sunday, April 17th, I have a recommendation for you. The Women Artists of Kauai are putting on a “Paint Our Garden” day for anyone who is interested. It will be a day of art classes offered by women who are exceptional in their fields of art, and it will take place from 10am until 2pm at the National Tropical Botanical Garden Southshore Visitor Center.

First of all, Dawn Lundquist will be offering a class on Plein Air Oil Painting, which is sure to be a big hit. I’ve seen her artwork and am fascinated with her talent. Secondly, Patrice Pendarvis is going to teach a class on watercolor landscapes. While I’ve personally never mastered the art of watercolor painting, anyone who wants to learn or who has previous watercolor experience will be in for a treat. Finally, Marionette Taboniar will be teaching a Painting Exotic Tropical Flowers in Watercolor class. Again, I’m a disaster with watercolors, but the artists out there will have a wonderful time finding unique tropical flowers and putting them on canvas.

The art classes will cost money, though I am unsure as to how much at the moment. However, all materials will be provided, so you won’t have to worry about bringing the right equipment. And all artists regardless of experience level are welcome. So even if you are completely new to art and want to give it a shot, this painting day is for you.

Plus, there will be a few live art demonstrations for those who want to attend, and those demonstrations are free. So if you want to discover how to Palm Frond Paint with Acrylics, how to sculpt, or how to make fine art of out glass tiles, here is your chance.

For more information about pricing or to pre-register for the classes, you can visit the Women Artists of Kauai website.

I wrote a little while ago about a run to raise money for Special Olympics Hawaii. But what I failed to mention was that we welcome all runners, regardless of where they live or how in shape they are. And we would love it if you came to participate in a run or two.

Here on the Garden Isle, we have several runs that take place throughout the year. In fact, we have 4 that I know about this month: two runs and two triathlons. Each one is for a different cause or simply to enjoy athleticism in the outdoors. After all, our island is a perfect temperature throughout the year and perfect for outdoor activities of all types.

Runners from all over the United States and other countries come to participate in our triathlons, and often times they stay to enjoy a relaxing vacation on our tropical isle. I have watched several races over the years and have come to understand that these events are for more than just exercise. They are to fully extend yourself, muscles in tune with your mind, to accomplish something great.

So if you are an athlete and want to have a relaxing vacation with a little bit of competition thrown in, might I recommend a race or two. While two of the races this month have already passed, there is the Kapaa High School Foundation 5K & 10K Fun Run on Saturday the 16th. There is also the 3rd Annual Kauai Loves You Triathlon on the last Saturday of this month. And if you want to avoid running, there is a canoe race on the 17th. There are also many more events coming up. You can keep watch on my blog for details or visit the Kauai Tourism site online.

When you come to Kauai, not only do you want to experience the wonder of the island, the sunny weather, and the beach, but you also want a nice place to stay. After all, wouldn’t the whole experience be ruined if the hotel room was really small, the pool was out of commission, or tiny bugs lived in the window sills? You want somewhere nice and relaxing that you can treat as your home, a place like the Marvin Pool Home in Princeville.

This home is great for many reasons. First of all, it is a fully furnished rental that only costs $1,400 a week for three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a private pool and hot tub, wireless internet, and a well-equipped kitchen. To put it another way, this place is big and can sleep six people easily.

Of course, since it is a rental home, you don’t have to share a bedroom wall with another set of tourists, constantly replace your electronic key card because it isn’t working, or share your living room with hundreds of other people. So if those are experiences that you enjoy, I would recommend a hotel. We have many on the island and, while they are going to cost you a bit more, you will at least get what you’re looking for.

Okay, all kidding aside, this really is a great home-away-from-home. There is a comfortable living room with a TV and DVD player, high speed internet everywhere throughout the house, a dining area where you can share a meal, a BBQ on the lanai where you can cook up some fresh fish or some steaks from the market, and it is all located in a peaceful neighborhood where you can take walks with your family or go out for a morning jog.

Since the house is located in Princeville, you are only a few miles away from great restaurants, world class golf courses, children’s parks, the famous Hanalei Bay, shopping centers, day spas, and several different beaches. There are also companies scattered all over Princeville that offer tours, scuba lessons, surfing lessons, horseback riding, snorkeling, hiking adventures, and much more.

The Marvin Pool Home is a place I would feel comfortable recommending to my closest friends and family members. So take my word for it and inquire about availability today. This place really would make the perfect spot to stay during your vacation.

I love food, but I’m also a sucker for a good cause. And after several friends begged me to at least attend, I agreed to go to the First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Torch Run. While I didn’t want to run (because we all know how badly that would go), I did agree to cheer them on and support the runners. I even bought a t-shirt.

The run started at First Hawaiian Bank in Lihue and ended at Vidinha Stadium. All of the runners showed up around 7am and the race officially began at 7:30. And while a lot of people were prepared for the run and gave it their all, still others only wanted to support a good cause and they walked the Torch Run.

So what was the good cause that they were all exercising for? Well, the proceeds from the Torch Run went to benefit Special Olympics Hawaii, a wonderful event that is always inspiring and fun. And to be honest, I started regretting the fact that I didn’t agree to run. After all, I could have walked it or tried to run a bit. Maybe next time I will.

All in all, the day went well. Everyone had a good time and money was raised for the Special Olympics. And I think that everyone walked away with just a bit more than that: a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

April 9, 2011 by, Emily

I can’t help it. I love food. I like to eat it, watch others cooking it, experiment with it, and even use it in sculptures. (I refer here to my 5th grade art class assignment entitled: the food pyramid.)

Anyway, perhaps that’s why I write about food so often. There is just something about finding a great restaurant and eating there often that makes life seem more full and inviting. So I am going to go ahead and tell you about Bar Acuda.

If you like delicious food, Bar Acuda is a great place to visit. They’ve been around for over 5 years now, and they have a wonderful head chef who brings an artistic and international flair to the cooking. For instance, I would recommend trying an appetizer or two, but only if you bring in a large group. The appetizers are served tapas style, making them a fun experience for the whole table.

All of their food is good. Seriously, everything I’ve tried was different, interesting, and incredibly tasty. My recommendation is to go there hungry and be willing to try something you wouldn’t normally try. I can guarantee you that, unless you have severe food allergies, you won’t regret it. If you want an actual food item recommendation to try, I would say the seared sea scallop or the house-cured chorizo. Both were recommended to me and I loved them.

Oh and definitely save room for dessert. Trust me.

Bar Acuda is located right here in Hanalei off of Kuhio Highway near Waioli Park. It’s not hard to find and its easy to access, especially if you stay on the north side of the island. So eat well and enjoy!

April 6, 2011 by, Emily

Here on Kauai, we welcome all visitors, regardless of how long you plan to stay. Not only is tourism a major part of our own economic system, but we also love to meet new people. That is the spirit of Aloha.

Of course, we also know how important it is to be honest with those visiting the island, knowing that their time is valuable. So, I wanted to take a few minutes to let any and all tourists know of an upcoming construction project on the roadways.

Starting this Monday, work will begin on the Kainahola Stream Bridge. Now, this isn’t on the main highway, so you will not have to worry about construction zones, road hazards, or debris hurting your rental car. However, you will have to deal with more traffic than normal.

The Kainahola Stream Bridge is part of a bypass road that runs between Kuhio Highway and Lihue. Many commuters on the island take this bypass to avoid the busy nature of the main highways. But in this year’s bridge inspection, it was noticed that the soil around the bridge was settling and causing the bridge to dip. In order to preserve public safety, it was wisely decided that the bridge needed an overhaul. Unfortunately, this will cause a strain on motorists.

Because the bypass road will be out of commission until the end of May (according to projections), more motorists will be traveling on the highways. What does this mean for you tourists? Well, more traffic means that you should take more caution while driving. It also means that movement along the highways might slow down a bit.

Therefore, I would recommend that you add about 15 minutes to your drive-time projections when you visit. If you are planning to attend a specific event on the opposite side of the island, give yourself a bit of extra time in case traffic backs up. While there shouldn’t be any major inconveniences, I can’t tell you for certain that traffic will flow smoothly. Adding another 15 minutes to each trip will give you plenty of time to see everything you want to see and not get frustrated in the process. Enjoy your visit!

Okay, for those of you out there who have a bit of Latin flair, you will love this: Hot Latin Night at the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel.

Last Saturday, my boyfriend invited me to go out dancing with him. Well, I love to dance, so soon we were on our way to the Kuhio Lounge for some Latin fun. Strangely enough, I had never been to a Hot Latin Night before. So it was a new experience for me as I entered the lounge to the sounds of a great D.J. and was soon doing the salsa right along with everyone else.

It had been years since I tried to Salsa, but luckily they offer free salsa lessons at the beginning of the night (8:30pm) and I caught up quickly. But the end of the evening, I was twirling away and shaking everything loose. It felt great! We did several different dances and stopped only for drinks and food. It was the most fun I’ve had in a while.

So, if you are coming to visit the island and you want to dance the night away, let me give you some more information. Hot Latin Nights happen each month on the first Saturday of the month. They normally start at 8:30 and go until 1am, so you will have lots of time to socialize and dance. There is a small cover charge of $5, but it is money well spent. For $10, you and a friend or loved one can spend the entire evening listening to great music and working your hips to the salsa, the merengue, and the bachata.

And the lounge isn’t that far from Princeville where I live, a place I expect you all to visit while you are on the island. To get to the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel where the lounge is located, simply get on Kuhio Highway (State HWY 56) and head south. You will pass Kuamoo Road running off to your right, go over the bridge, and it will be on your left. If you want to use mapquest or Google maps to find it, the address is 3-5920 Kuhio Highway in Kapaa.

However, I wouldn’t recommend staying in this hotel. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a nice hotel and Kapaa is a beautiful area. But a vacation rental is going to cost you less money and give you more privacy, not to mention a lot more room.

If you are considering a place to stay on the island, I have quite a few suggestions. I simply recommend avoiding hotels, as they will often charge quite a bit for very little.

April 1, 2011 by, Emily

So yesterday I had a bit of an adventure. I went for a walk into the surrounding vegetation near my house and wandered about an hour. I knew there was a great little waterfall that few knew about just a short walk away, and I was going back there. But somehow I got turned around.

I had been walking about two hours, wondering where in the world I was, when I stumbled upon a pineapple tree. These are not uncommon on a Hawaiian island and I decided to take a break there and look around. What I saw was amazing. The tree itself looked like every other tree, but its fruit was red!

At first I thought that I’d lost my mind or had too little water. So I drank some water and waited. Then I looked back up. They were still red. I had to find out more about why. I found one nearby that had fallen off and broke it open. While the skin on the outside was red, the fruit inside was still the same color… ish.

The fruit looked like regular pineapple except there were flecks in it that shimmered. I picked a few out and they continued to shimmer, but I couldn’t figure out what they were. I tried the fruit. It was the best pineapple I’d ever tasted. It was so sweet and seemed to explode with flavor in my mouth. I loved it. I had to take some home with me.

I put the largest pineapple I could find in my daypack and trudged back to my house. It took almost two hours to find the right way to get there, but I didn’t care. I was just excited to have a red pineapple to show off. I immediately called my friends over for lunch and served fruit salad, using the pineapple. Then I told them all about it. We figured we could go into business and sell the pineapples as specialty fruit and we all agreed to start harvesting the pineapples the next morning.

But we never found the tree again. We searched all day and didn’t see even a flash of red fruit. Over the next few weeks, I’m sure I’ll search again, trying to find what I stumbled upon the first time. And who knows – maybe I’ll find blue pineapples, purple mangos, or even a few pigmies while I’m out there!

So the next time you’re in Kauai, look up for the red fruit and Happy April Fools Day.