i left my heart in maui

Did you know it takes a pineapple two years to grow? Two years! I learned that fact while riding a van up a bumpy road for the Kapalua Zipline Adventure (knock that off your bucket list HERE). Sure made me appreciate the delicious fruit a little more as I devoured part of our 3rd pineapple. I also got to try Lilikoi (also known as yellow passionfruit) and Strawberry Guava, fresh off the tree. My palette just became more picky as


beats fresh fruit and anything artificially flavored as such, taste like pure crap to me.

I went to Maui, Hawaii in November with my oldest sister Jess, her husband David, and their two kids. Best trip ever! It was totally worth the freakin long flight. We stayed at the Outrigger Napili Shores; I can't imagine it gets better than that place! We were on the ground floor and could see that gorgeous ocean right out the living room window. Every night we cracked the windows and fell asleep to the sound of the crashing waves.

giant shuffleboard right outside our room.

I brought along only my 5DMarkII and my 50mm 1.4 for some family portraits and my cellphone for candid moments.

I think I snorkeled every single day I was there, sometimes more than once a day. There were always gigantic sea turtles, larger than me to swim around. I've never seen such a variety of bright and colorful fish in my life either... more than I saw at the Ocean Center we visited. We went on The Lanai Dolphin Tour (amazing x10) and snorkeling adventure, but the snorkeling was 99x better right at our resort. The only difference was that there was better looking coral and clearer waters on the paid snorkeling tour. Minor. I'll take those amazing turtles in my watch any day.

One morning, we decided to go up the summit of the Haleakala volcano to watch the sunrise... above the clouds. WOW. Talk about a masterpiece! On the long winded way down the mountain, we stopped for macadamia nut pancakes just to hold on to heaven a little longer...

I experienced my first luau (in Lahaina) while there as well. That was cool! I believe it was my first pig roast also.. Let me tell you, the food was delicious and the performers were fantastic! My favorite was the fire-dancers at the end. Mesmerizing...

Have any of ya'll ever tried paddle-boarding? I've watched people do it from Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean and thought it looked so difficult. David convinced me to try it one day at the resort and ...well.. I want one of my own now! It's awesome and not nearly as hard as you think! I didn't fall at all and I got a great core workout. I highly recommend it!

Whales travel all the way down from Alaska to Hawaii to mate and have babies. The water is warmer and much safer. Did you know they don't eat during the entire duration they are in HI? Apparently the oceanic nutrients in HI aren't enough for their needs so they hold off until they make it back. The tour guide told us whale season doesn't typically start until December, but there had been sitings already so we hopped on board. We definitely saw a couple smaller ones. And when I saw small, I mean slightly smaller than a school bus. Those things get ENORMOUS! I have a couple of older men pushing me around so I was bummed out I didn't get any good photos. At least I have them in my memory... and on my bucket repeat list for when I go back. I


go back.

Head downtown Lahaina for shopping, kombucha on tap, shaved ice and the Banyan Tree.

The Banyan tree was imported from India and planted in 1873. It now has a huge base plus 12 trunks. ENORMOUS!

*Money-Saving Tip: Be sure to try local specialty foods (I loved pork and pineapple tacos and the macadamia nut pancakes) but cook meals on your own as much as possible as food and dining can be quite pricey there, even the little (and multiple) road-side stands.

- Recommended food/drink:

Breakwall Shave Ice Co.

Gazebo Restaurant

Sugar Cane Maui

If you have air miles to use up and don't know where to go (or even if you don't have the miles) - Maui is my number one recommendation!