Archive for June, 2012

Okay, last year I wrote a lot about different fireworks events that were upcoming. However, I was told that I wrote about them too late! Many people said they had already made 4th of July plans by the time I wrote those posts. So this year, I’m writing about Independence Day in June like a good little girl. ☺

Independence day happens on the same date every year, but not always the same day. And since the 4th falls on a Wednesday this year, there won’t be any large weekend celebrations. Well, okay this is Kauai and there will be some awesome weekend celebrations. They just might not have anything to do with the 4th.

So, as a quick overview, there are three main fireworks events happening here on Kauai that I know about at this exact moment. First is the celebration at PMRF in Kekaha. This is in the military section of the island and will be starting up around 5pm on July 3rd. (Please take note about it being the 3rd and not the 4th.) Let’s just say that the military takes a bit of pride in the nation it protects, so this party is always a good one to attend. But it might not be entirely kid friendly.

Second, if you are on the Westside of the island but you don’t want to visit the soldiers, you can attend 4th of July on the Westside on July 4th, an event at Kekaha “Faye” Ball Park. This event is free and there will be entertainment including games, a talent show, food booths, crafts, rides, and fireworks. This is definitely a great family-friendly celebration for kids of all ages and it starts at 7pm.

And then there is the 3rd Annual Concert in the Sky, also held on the 4th. This celebration is in Lihue at the Vidinha Stadium Soccer Field. There will be live music, inflatables and a fun zone for the kids, massages, a silent auction, and (of course) a great fireworks display, all of which will kick-off at 4pm. This event does cost money, though, with a $15/adult and $7/child charge at the door. But tickets sales will go toward Kauai Hospice, a great cause. So any and all cost is well worth it.

Okay guys, did I get the information to you on time? Good.

Music is a passion of mine. I like to get out my guitar and strum every once in a while to relax or to help me think. But if I had any real talent, I would have gone pro a long time ago. No, my talents lie in other areas, but there are many people around the world who have a talent for music.

And for Jazz.

I admit that I am not your normal music lover. I love many different forms and genres of music, but Jazz is at the top of my list. While many people my age are listening to Pop, Rock, and even slack key guitar, I remind them of where all of that came from: Jazz. And if you like jazz as well, then there is an upcoming festival you would really enjoy.

For 5 years now, Kauai has been hosting the Red Clay Jazz Festival, a chance for jazz musicians from all over the globe to come and perform their music both on stage and in the classrooms. And this year, the Jazz Festival will be June 27, 28, and 30th in Lihue. You can get a list of artists who will be performing if you visit their website online, but let me just say that this festival is always a highlight and shouldn’t be missed, regardless of who is playing.

Now, the first two concerts are free. They will be at Aupaka Terrace from 6-8pm (Wednesday) and 5-7pm (Thursday), and they are typically less in demand than the main event because of their weekday status. I like going to at least one of the weekday concerts, though, because there are smaller crowds and the artists can be more interactive.

The main event will be at Kauai Lagoons in Lihue on June 30th from 4-9pm. Yes, that is 5 straight hours of Jazz artists and their instruments pouring out their souls onto the stage. And because of the length of the concert (and perhaps also because it’s on Saturday and more people will be there), this performance will cost $40 in advance or $50 at the door. But don’t worry about the length. There will be food vendors on site, so you can easily enjoy the music and purchase dinner while you’re there.

One more thing: you will need to bring a blanket or chairs, as this event will be outdoors on the lawns. Usually it’s pretty comfortable, but you’ll want to be prepared. Okay, I think that’s all the info you need. I hope to see you there!

If you have a family of 5-6, then you probably understand that travel isn’t always easy. It’s hard to find a restaurant everyone likes, it’s difficult to rent the right sized vehicle, and it’s expensive to stay in a hotel. And if you do find the right place to stay, how will you keep the kids entertained while you’re there? Well, have you checked out Emmalani Court 212 in Princeville?

While I can’t help you with the rental car company and I can’t make your kids agree on dinner options, I can tell you that a vacation rental home is a much better idea than staying in a hotel. For one thing, the price is an important factor. In a hotel, you will likely have to paid for multiple rooms. But with this vacation rental, the price for the week is only $1,050 for 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, a patio, and a fully-equipped kitchen. That’s right – 7 days and a ton of space for only a thousand dollars. Since hotel rooms cost $200/night/room, this will save you quite a bit of money.

And speaking of food, if you can’t find a restaurant that all of your kids will enjoy, why not eat in? Instead of hotel room service (which will cost you a small fortune) or trying to smuggle what you can into your room, this condo has a fully-equipped kitchen. This means that you will find everything you need in this kitchen to make truly fantastic meals. Since you are only a short walk (or REALLY short drive) to the heart of Princeville, you are close to many grocery stores, local shops, fish markets, and delis. So you can make whatever you like in your own kitchen during your stay.

But what about sleeping space? Well, as I mentioned before, there are 2 bedrooms. One of the bedrooms is a master suite (that you will probably take and not your children). The Master Suite has a King-sized bed, a TV, and a large walk-in shower in your own private bathroom. So, at the end of a long day, you can escape the kids and enjoy your own private space. The second bedroom has a queen-sized bed and a twin bed, meaning you can sleep up to 3 people in this room. Plus, the living room has a queen-sized pull out couch, so you could sleep another kid or two out there.

The rest of the house is designed to give you light, space, and comfort. There are windows everywhere, allowing you to spend time viewing the splendor of the island. From your home, you can see the ocean as well as the world-famous Makai golf course. So you can literally sit out on your patio, sip a refreshing drink, and watch a hole of golf or two. And, if you want to request a tee-time, you could try playing on the Makai course yourself while you’re there!

The living room is big enough for your family to stretch out and relax. And, with books, games, a flat screen TV, and even an iPod dock, your family will have a lot to do. Plus, you will find beach toys and a cooler in the house. Feel free to use them to take a trip to the near-by beach (only 8 minutes on foot) and enjoy your time in Princeville!

June 20, 2012 by, Emily

If you have kids, then you understand that they rarely eat new foods well. Sometimes, if it is covered in chocolate or if all of their friends are eating it, they will at least try it. However, if you go out to eat at a nicer restaurant, it’s hard to find something they will like or be willing to try.

But there is a place here on Kauai that serves wonderful pizza and burgers that kids will love. Unless you request something odd, there will be no seafood, no kale, no wine sauces, no green vegetables, and no other odd foods your kids hate. There will simply be some of the best pizza and burgers you’ve ever eaten.

Sound good? Well, then I’ll tell you more!

The North Shore General Store has the best Pizza in Princeville (there was an official vote) and is world-class all the way. The pizza is hand made right there in large pizza ovens, coming out hot, bubbling, and cheesy. And the burgers they make are big (called Hefty Burgers actually), allowing you to get a good-sized meal for not a lot of money. The beef comes from our own Princeville free-range ranches and, unless you request otherwise, will be served with lettuce, tomatoes, and onion.

Of course, pizza isn’t the only thing the North Shore General Store does right. There is also a wonderful breakfast menu, espresso bar, salads, and some local favorites. And, to top it all off, there are freshly baked cookies everyday. So if you want to vacation on Kauai, don’t worry about your kids avoiding the strange, tropical food. We have the perfect place for them to eat. Plus, you can shop for t-shirt, souvenirs, drinks, snacks, and other general goods while you’re there!

For 4 years in a row now, the Mayor of Kauai has been stepping up (literally) and helping us get in shape by hosting a Mayor-a-thon. During this Mayor-a-thon, participants can walk, run, or bike anywhere between 1-8 miles along the Kapaa Path. Along with the Mayor, there will probably be a few hundred of us participating, so come and join us!

Need even more reason to attend? Well, how about the fact that it’s free. Most sponsored runs cost money. Why? Because usually they are being held to raise money for a good cause (like cancer research) or to win a prize (like a gold medal in a triathlon). But this walking/running/biking event is just for fitness and health, so it is 100% free.

And if you sign up to exercise with us and get healthy, there will also be breakfast, prizes, and live entertainment! Plus, the first 500 people to sign up using the website (www.getfitkauai.com) get a free t-shirt. So come and run with us on Saturday, June 23rd, from 6-9am at Kapaa Beach Park. You’ll get to meet the mayor and some other great people! And who doesn’t want to get in better shape, right?

June 17, 2012 by, Emily

Every year, we celebrate Fathers Day by buying our dads ties, coffee mugs, or tools. We give our dads cards about how awesome they are and how much like them we must be. And then, at the end of the day, we go back to being the self-involved children we have always been. But what if this year is different.

This year for Fathers Day, I’m giving my dad a golf club, a nice card, and a promise. The promise is to treat every day that I have him like its Fathers Day. No, I don’t mean that he gets a present everyday. I would go broke. I just mean that I will call him more (I have a date on my calendar each week picked out and a time to call scheduled so I don’t forget), I will appreciate him more (instead of acting like what he does as a father is easy or typical), and I will try to cherish the times we are together.

What brings this on? Well, a dear friend lost her father this last year to cancer, and she has been dreading Fathers Day for months. Her dad was a wonderful man, a hard worker with a love for his family that was clearly seen. He was their glue, the stuff that held them all together. Now, without him, they are broken and apart.

I don’t want this to happen to my family. I want to cherish my dad and let him know how much I need him around, even though we butt heads like crazy. Why? Well, someday he won’t be around anymore and I’ll miss him.

So this year, treat your dad to a special Fathers Day and enjoy your time with him. But also remember that he won’t be around forever. So maybe make it Fathers Year instead?

Happy Fathers Day!

June 15, 2012 by, Emily

Happiness is such a novel concept in some of our lives. It seems like we do what we must, what our duty is, what makes the most money, and what we are told to do without ever finding our true happiness. Of course, I love to write, so by blogging I express my happiness. But what about you? Would you like to cultivate a bit of happiness in your own life?

There is a place in Lihue called the Old Immaculate Conception School. It is in this place that the Happiness Planting Festival will commence, and each of you are invited to attend. This festival is all about nurturing our happiness so it overflows in our hearts and spreads to others. It will be a day of Japanese traditional dance, ikebana, crafts, food, games, workshops, and much more. And who wouldn’t want to celebrate all the things in life that make our happiness possible?

So if you have some free time, come to Lihue on Saturday (June 16) from 10am until 6pm. The event is only $5 for adults and is free to children, so it could be a great event for your whole family. And if you attend, send me a comment or an email and let me know if you enjoyed yourself and if you found your happiness.

Do you love good food? No, I’m not talking about the new Doritos Taco from Taco Bell. I mean truly good food, made from fresh ingredients by talented gourmet chefs? If you answered yes, then read on.

Will you be on Kauai this Friday, June 15, from 8am to 4pm? And if so, would you like to spend your day touring parts of the island while eating gourmet foods, drinking cocktails, and learning some new recipes? If you answered yes to the above two questions, then read on.

Do you have $100? (Okay, there is where I stopped many of you in your tracks. But read on anyway. I know you’ll find this event worth it.)

This Friday at the Kauai Marriott Resort (in Lihue), there will be a workshop for all of you “foodies” out there. The title? Tasting Kauai: A Culinary Romp Through Paradise. And you know what, that is exactly what it is.

During this Taste of Kauai, you will visit on exotic fruit farm where you can taste the wonders of nature. You will go on a garden tour, learning about growing what you will need for an excellent meal. You will watch master chefs at work as they prepare you a four-course lunch. And you will see some great cooking demonstrations that will give you a taste of what Kauai has to offer. Sounds good, right?

But, you might be thinking, no culinary romp can truly be complete without beverages to accompany the perfect meal. Well, not to worry. You will receive demonstrations on Koloa Rum, attend a cocktail making class, and will be able to drink two cocktails of your choice to accompany your food.

So, if you love food, will be on Kauai, want something to do, and have $100, this event is for you. Enjoy!

Okay, can I be a girl for just a minute? I have been wedding planning for a while now, slowing since our date is still out a ways. Anyway, I stumbled across this wedding and event design company (aka florist) and was wonderful if any of my Kauai buddies had ever used them.

The company is North Shore Buds & Blooms, and I really like what I’m seeing so far. They did a wedding my friend was in a little while ago, and she said that all of the arrangements were beautiful. But she didn’t know much more than that. I know that the flowers were on the tables, in the bouquets, and even on the cake! And the pictures were lovely.

Their website has a lot of great pictures featuring the arrangements they offer, like wedding arches for the ceremony and bouquets for the bridesmaids. And I like the fact that they use native plants, making each space look elegant yet simple. That is kind-of what I’m going for. But I want more information.

So, if someone on Kauai wants to post a comment or two about this company, that would be great. And if someone else who is planning to get married before me (unofficial date is January) and needs a florist, can you check out their site, hire them, and then tell me how they did? That would be great. Thanks. ☺

Now, I’ve talked about the Cliffs before, stating that they are some of the best condos to rent on Kauai. And if you want a home away from home in Princeville, the Cliffs complex is a wonderful choice. However, most of the condo units are 1-2 bedrooms, meaning that only smaller parties can rent them. This is limiting. But what if there was a Cliffs unit that was 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms? Well, that is Cliffs 8204 for you!

As I’ve mentioned before, the Cliffs complex is up on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. There are beautiful views of the beach, the mountains, and the water, and these homes are comfortable and spacious. Cliffs 8204 is even more so, with lots of space for you to relax in comfort.

The interior is modern with bright, bold colors that complement the beauty of nature perfectly. The upstairs has a master suite with a King-sized bed, private bathroom, and private garden patio. The downstairs has its own master suite with a private bathroom and patio, a secondary bedroom with a Queen-sized bed, another full bathroom, a patio overlooking the ocean, a living room with a Queen-sized sofa bed, and a fully-equipped kitchen. In short, this vacation rental is perfect for a large family or any party of 8.

Every bedroom in this home has a TV and DVD player. Plus there is a washer/dryer unit on site so you can pack light. And with high speed internet flowing through the house, this is the perfect site for a relaxing and luxurious get-away, especially if you want to stay in one of the island’s hot spots.

Princeville is the best place to stay in the North. And, in my humble opinion, it is the best place to stay on the whole island. Period. So come and check out Cliffs 8204. If you want the best, this is it.

Did you know that, in Japanese culture, it is believed that the spirits of dead ancestors come back to visit in the summer? It’s true. And it is very important that your ancestors be greeted in a proper manner. Which is why, if you are visiting Kauai in the next few months, you might just be invited to a dance.

The Bon Dance is a 500-year-old Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of family members that have passed away. And on Kauai, there are several dances you can attend over the course of this month on the 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 29th, and 30th.

So do you believe in spirits?

Of course, you are more than welcome regardless of your beliefs and/or your heritage. In other words, you don’t have to believe in ancestral spirits or even be Japanese or Buddhist to attend. But since it is a free event, why not come and see what a Bon Dance is like?

Each dance will start at 7:30pm and will go about an hour and a half. And each weekend, the dance will be in a different place. This weekend (8th-9th), the dance will be at Kapaa Hongwanji. The rest of the locations are as follows: 15-16 at the Waimea Higashi Hongwanji, 22-23 at the Kauai Soto Zen Temple, and 29-30 at the Koloa Jodo Mission. Again, visitors and residents are welcome at all events because, when you want to welcome your ancestor’s spirit with celebration, the more the merrier!

Now, what can you expect? Well, each dance will be a bit different, depending on the location. But typically the Bon Dance has a high wooden yagura (a bandstand tower) and the participants all celebrate around it, eating and dancing and having a good time. You see, the idea is to create a happy place for the souls of your ancestors so they will visit and feel welcomed. So a good Bon Dance will have happy, live music and a lot of food vendors all around so people can truly have a good time.

Some come and join us for the Bon Dance. It is sure to be a fun time for friends, family, and ancestors alike. ☺

Those of you who know me, either from this blog or in person, realize that I am all about the food. Seriously, it is a priority in my life. (And I have a pretty good metabolism too, so feel free to drool over my food posts and hate me for not gaining weight. I completely understand.)

That said, I am going to recommend an event for you that is expensive but worth it. This event is also all about the food. It’s called “Taste of Hawaii” and will be happening this Sunday (Yes, that’s tomorrow) from 11:30am until 3:30pm.

Taste of Hawaii is an event at Smith’s Tropical Paradise in Wailua. The price is $115, so I’m going to tell you up-front that this isn’t an event for children (unless your child has a very mature palette) or for those who are trying to plan a trip to Kauai on a budget. This is for those who have $115 a person to use on food.

But the food is going to be AMAZING!

There will be 50 chefs from all over the Hawaiian Islands attending this event, and they will be in charge of making their signature dishes for you! There will also be over 15 beverage vendors there, and they will be in charge of keeping you hydrated and complementing your meal with the best drinks possible. Each dish will be perfectly prepared for your palette, so come hungry and stay a while.

Need more incentive? Well, there will also be a Silent Auction taking place, and you can participate if you wish. Plus, there will be a constant stream of live music playing, with over 10 different entertainment groups scheduled. So you can literally eat fantastic food to your heart’s content while sipping a cool beverage and enjoying live entertainment as you sit comfortably on a beautiful, tropical island. I can’t think of anything better than that.