Archives for August 2014

Adventure Time – 5 Musts on a Hawaiian vacation

Paradise Cove us and luau dancersHawaii is renowned as a perfect travel destination and with the wide assortment of things to do once you get there it can be hard to narrow down the activities that give you the best experience at the island.  In my recent family trip to Hawaii I planned on a mix of relaxation and adventure in enjoying the beautiful island.  Here are my recommendations of must’s when visiting the island. Mahalo!

Paddleboarding in HawaiiBeach Day – With some of the beautiful beaches in the world, Hawaii surf and sand begs you to just stop and enjoy.  I am one to love an adventure packed vacation, however, there is something to be said for doing nothing on the beach in Hawaii.  The beach outside of the JW Marriott was a great place to just sit and enjoy the perfect weather, beautiful sands and crystal clear water Hawaii has to offer.  Once you have gotten a chance to chill out you can always pick up the pace with a paddleboard or water hammock if you book a hotel that offers these fun amenities.  In nothing else, naps on the beach are always amazing!

Hawaiian sunsetSunrise or Sunset – There are few moments in nature that offer more clarity as to how magnificent the world and its Creator are than a brilliant sunrise or sunset.  It shows just a glimpse of just how complex the world really is and just how small of a piece we occupy on it.  This perspective is a great way to get put things in order the things that stress you in your own life that seems big, but really may be a small problem in the grand scheme of things.

Waimea Falls Waterfall 3Waterfalls – Part of the joy of vacations is exploring all of the things that we cannot do or see locally.  The waterfalls in Hawaii top my list as it is a great way to get in tune with nature and an essential variation on the fun and the sun that Hawaii is known for.  For some family fun the waterfalls at Waimea Falls Park offers not just an easy hike through a botanical garden to get to the falls, but some great cultural knowledge along the way.  Waimea Falls Waterfall 1The entire trip was breathtaking and jumping into the falls was an exhilarating family moment we will remember forever!
Stop and enjoy the beautiful views – In taking a look at the scenes in Hawaii you can tell that God was flexing his muscles when he made the island.  Waimea Falls Park Creek Hawaii Trip (26)It is not just the winding roads of the north beach with views of the mountains and the beach, but at almost every turn you get an eye full of nature’s beauty. Even off the beaten path in a resident recommendation for a restaurant we found some great views and local fun that really makes a trip personal.  To take it up a notch we visited Kualoa Ranch which takes you deep in the undisturbed terrain of Hawaii that made it a perfect location for movies like Jurassic Park.  At the top of a mountain with an incredible view it’s hard not to miss the peace that nature has to offer.

Luau – Although it has begun to sound like a clique, the luau is not just a great show, but some real insight to the beautiful culture of the Hawaiian people.  Paradise Cove LuauWe were on the fence about going as they can be pricey, but those concerns disappeared once we stepped into Paradise Cove.  The luau was its only adventure and living museum all in one as you got to explore the games, lifestyle, clothing, and food of the Hawaiian people.  All this on top of such a great show and you pay for the luau pretty quickly and walk away happing yelling Mahalo to all you see. Paradise Cove Luau Dancers Paradise Cove Sarong Demo Paradise Cove Painting

 

 

5 Lessons I relearned though watching kids

Back to schoolSomething about the mind of a child holds the key to a lot of life lessons we forget as adults.  Their point of view of the world, that has yet to be hindered by years of the rejections and limitations, cast some light on the true potential we each have to do and to be anything that we want.  In some recently pondering of why I have been feeling stalled lately I refocused on some lessons kids seem to have mastered, that as an adult have become a little cloudy for me.  Here are the 5 lessons I took away from the way kids approach life:

1. Never forget to ask why not. When the answer is anywhere remotely close to no, most kids instantly play their “Why Not” card. Kids are clueless of the risk of annoying whoever they pose the question to. They prioritize the need to understand what is going on if they are not going to get what they want. As adults we lose some of this determination to getting to the bottom of the road blocks ahead of us by not wanting to sound like an idiot or be rejected or get our feelings hurt. When we get to the bottom of why people say no, from their perspective, we have given ourselves a short cut to actually solving the problem instead of working on all the wrong ways to fix it. (Knowing and understanding the problem is half of the battle)
2. Imagination turns a box into a spaceship. Turning the box a toy spaceship came in into a spaceship happens in a breeze for kids. As adults though we lose some of that creative ability for the sake of being practical. Being practically is a necessary component of being a responsible adult. Unfortunately that means for many people sweeping the dreamer in you under the rug. Even as adults though we have to give our minds reign to let the imagination run free. Like most things if you don’t use it you lose it so make sure to make time to rekindle the dreamer in you.
3. If the damage is not too bad and no one is looking, what is the point of kicking and screaming? I am the kind of mom who sees a kid take a small tumble and quickly turns my head and waits for a scream. The funny thing is that when there is no one looking a small fall that would have gotten a big reaction just results in a child picking themselves up, evaluating the damage and keeping it moving. Sometimes our pride is what is really hurt when we make a mistake and to appease this pride we make a big deal about a small problem. Carrying on as if no one is looking and picking yourself back up does wonders in the process of moving forward.
4. Mirrors show us how we see ourselves. My friend sent me a video of her son semi-infatuated with himself in the mirror. He looked at his reflection like it was the most exciting thing he ever encountered. As we grow up though we look at the mirror to tell us if the world thinks we will look good. Your reflection should always be beautiful to you because its you. If you are inside or outside of the world’s definition of beauty, there are things that make you special and unique to you. After all, what is more beautiful than something that is perfectly unique?
5. When one road is blocked, check for alternatives. I swear we should hire kids as strategic planners. They think of a plan and of the path of least resistance to tackling that plan. Ever have a child ask you for something betting you will be an easier sale than another responsible party (or vice versa and had them not want to ask you)??? Kids learn that when you can take an easier path you should. While as an adult you have to learn to balance the easier road with being honest, there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a heads up in thinking of which path will be easier or faster for you to get things done.

Class and Comfort at the Westin Georgetown

Westin Georgetown Caucus Room George town view 2On my most recent trip to DC I got a chance to stay in Georgetown for my cousin’s wedding and was pleasantly surprised by the Westin Georgetown.  The Westin Georgetown offered a strong showing of class without the pretentiousness that can make a nice hotel a little too uptight.  Any hotel in Georgetown has a lot to live up to. The area is known for its old neighborhoods and even older money and with the metro not servicing the area it can seem a little out of the way.  Westin Georgetown LobbyI found the location to be perfect, however, as you could quickly access some of the fun and liveliness of other areas like the U street corridor while still being nestled in a serene yet active neighborhood.  I love to be out and about when out of town and the location forced me to second guess getting out and really made my vacation a relaxing one.  The Georgetown area still has a wide array of shops and stores and restaurants and the nearby waterfront offered another level in options when I surveyed what there was to do while I was in DC.

Westin Georgetown Pool view from roomThe Westin Georgetown offered all of the great nuances I have come to expect from a Westin, no matter where I am.  Luxury features like their dream shower head and bathrobes always set the stage for fun at the Westin and the Westin Georgetown met and exceeded my expectations with their friendly staff and beautifully appointed room.  The view with the pool had my daughter thrilled to be there and the courtyard was the perfect place to enjoy a sunny day or nightcap after a long day sightseeing.  Westin Georgetown Caucus room top view Westin Georgetown Caucus Room Entrance Westin Georgetown Boveda 3 Westin Georgetown Boveda 1 Westin Georgetown Caucus Room insideTo put a cherry on top of the great location, amenities, and people the fun was dynamite.  From room service to late night snacks to their great restaurants I was stuffed the whole stay.  The Caucus Room Brasserie served as a cool venue for my cousins welcome reception with great finger foods and a warm environment that got everyone comfortable and talking.  Boveda really made my day by serving a classic Caipirinha (my Rio favorite) and the fun vibe and weekly free salsa lessons had me wishing I could extend my stay for a couple of days.  All in all the hotel offered superior quality mixed with definite comfort that made the hotel a winner in my book.

Adventure Time – Segway Tours in Washington DC

Segway Tour in DCAfter taking my best shot at exploring DC walking, it became clear that when you are short on time and high on hopes of seeing a lot of a city you have to make some compromises.  A great way to balance my desire to get a more intimate feel of the city with the need to cover some serious ground was to take a Segway tour of DC.  The Segway’s have always looked like a pretty cool means of transportation to as I see them zoom through the mall and DC seemed like a great place to try one out for myself.

My tour guide promised that Segway’s would be the easiest learning curve possible and true to her word it only takes a good 30 minutes on the Segway to move into feeling like a pro.  That is not to say the first time on a Segway is not a pretty foreign feeling.  In your mind you have made up the right way to ride it and takes a minute to let go of the idea and absorb how it really works.  Once that is set though you can take off on what feels like your own moving walkway.  You get the feel of walking without the work of bike riding so on a hot DC day it gives comfort and the speed that is a must.  The Segway tour then became a great way to check out something new and fun, get a guided tour of the city and check out 4 or 5 monuments in 2 hours, not a bad combo.

For me the surprise for the Segway tour was how much I enjoyed the guided tour of the city.  It is pretty easy to walk around the city and sight see, but getting some more in-depth information on the history of the people and events that define a city really change your perspective on the importance of things you might normally just pass by.  From understanding the differences of the different sides of the White House, to highlighting the details of the Korean War Memorial, even down to appreciating buildings and monuments I had never heard of, I walked off my Segway feeling I mastered a new gadget and got some new light on an old city.  When in DC check out City Segway Tours for a fun way to explore the highlights of DC.

Chic Sighting – Emporium DNA in Washington DC

IMG_7317My life is usually a constant balance between the creative sides of my Pisces nature and the business side required to command a more professional look.  Finding clothes that can balance both of these personas can be a challenge to say the least but upon stepping in Emporium DNA on a visit to Washington DC I instantly felt like I met my fashion mecca.

Emporium DNA racks 2 Emporium DNA racks 1 Emporium DNA racks 4 Emporium DNA Racks 3 Emporium DNA Handbag GalleryAs I am firm believer that fashion is really an extension of our own personal style and shape I rate a boutique highly if their own fashion sense comes across fluidly as it speaks to you in every corner in the store.  Emporium DNA started off chic as I stepped in the door.  As I explored the boutique I found items on point with fashion trends but with unique twist and fabrics and designs that linked it to a woman who wears the clothes, not lets the clothes wear her.  Fun finds surrounded me and promised I had definitely reached a day were I was going to bust the budget.  The looks from pieces around the store took me away to the fashionable streets of Paris, to the urban funk of New York and right back to the professional swag that pounds the pavement in DC.  I found jackets I could rock with jeans or slacks and skirts I could take from day to night with ease.  Each way giving me another nugget in my mix and match madness at home that drives my closet selections.  From leather crop tops to flowing maxi skirts there is a little something for everyone at the store that not only speaks to their style, whether bohemian, business, conservative, or funky.  The store gives a twist on what it really means to be fashionable that makes it just a little fresher than something you can find at a more cookie cutter store.

Emporium DNA Handbag spotlight Emporium DNA shoesOn top of the great styles and dashing atmosphere the staff was simply amazing.  All warm and friendly and ready to help you find things you did not even know you were looking for.  I initially was smitten with the style knowledge of Assistant Manager Jared at their brother store G-Star Raw.  The same great product knowledge and great advice for personal shape and style was found at Emporium DNA!  When great clothes comes with service with a smile then who can beat that????  If you are on the search for designer clothes with a fresh new spin to tackle your own personal style then Emporium DNA is the store for you.

Adventure Time – Exploring DC by foot

US Capital SelfieWith a great mix of culture, history, food and fun, few cities set the stage for walking about than Washington, DC.  As with many old cities, there is an architectural style that sparks your imagination to what its residents experienced hundreds of years before you retraced their steps.  As older cities were designed at a time where walking was a major means of transportation, it is designed to fit that mode, with sideways and crosswalks readily available and stores and restaurants situated for those on their feet.  Grafitti wall in DC 1 Grafitti wall in DC 2As the doors to my imagination opened up I want to get out and experience all of that adventure myself and walking lets me touch, feel and see the city in a much more intimate way than driving in cars or on public transportation.

My love for walking and discovery was not initially shared by my daughter as the thought of a 4 mile hike to our hotel with no idea of what was in between did not sound equally appealing.  US CapitalBut instead of just looking at it as a long walk around DC, I challenged her to change her point of view and be open to the idea of going on an adventure.  When you start on an adventure something changes.  Stop and smell the roses in DCInstead of a focus on the fastest and most convenient route, you look forward to the delays and detours along the way as the point is not the route, it’s the experiences along the way.  Our walk took us through skater ramps, parks, the capital and Pennsylvania Ave and along the way just how special these times are became clear.  The constant focus on time was thrown out the window and all roads became open to the adventure at hand.  If something looked cool or caught our eye the plan quickly changed to accommodate the new experiences. Chy climbing Trees If a tree looked fun we climbed it, if there was a building that looked cool we walked up to it, anything that added to our daily adventure.  Having the access and ability to not just pass things up but get some hands on action made the experience much more alive.

When you have no idea where you are than almost everything seems new and adds a great twist of spice that is unbeatable when it comes to having an adventure.  With great weather and phenomenal scenery (not to mention the people watching) DC is a great place to step back in time or have your own modern adventure.   Two Scholars Fredrick Douglas ground coin First Amedment Cool Architecture DC Park and statute