Friday, August 1, 2014

The Happiest Hour

I returned from my date to find the girls enjoying drinks on the deck of Mahina Surf, the condo we were staying at for the majority of the week. 

It was an ideal place for families as we noticed that "happy hour" was daily ritual on the property. Everyone would congregate around the pool as the day turned into night. The kids would swim until their fingers were pruney and the parents would look on, with an adult beverage in hand, making use of the outdoor grill while taking in the view of another postcard-worthy sunset. And if you're lucky, depending on the time of year, you could spot a whale or two.

For Mary, her one wish of the week was to see a turtle. Her enthusiasm for this was childlike and feverish. Over a glass or two of wine, Mary jumped out of her chair and was questioning if it was her imagination or if, in fact, it was a turtle head popping out of the water to say hello on our very last night in Maui.

Without hesitation, we ran down to the rocky beach. She wasn't imagining it and the turtle wasn't alone! He was swimming with a bunch of his friends. I must have exhausted my sense of fear after my hike earlier that day and Mary was too excited to think twice about losing her footing. Mary and I quickly tiptoed to the furthest rock so that we could be as close to the turtles as possible. The five of us girls waved bye to the turtles and to our week in paradise.

Stay bitten ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Bachelor: Maui

When you have a girls' night out in Maui, you might find yourself waking up with a text message or two from the friends you make at the local bar. Things were a little blurry for all of us but in true spirit, I had made plans to go hiking. With the hot bartender. Before I snap my fingers and turn into an eat, pray, love cliche, well, yeah, I can't make that promise on vacation.

I invited my friends to join us and make it a group date. They passed and opted to go shopping on our first rainy day and our last full day in Maui. Instead, I took that leap. We had not explored the northern most point of the island and I figured what better way to see it than with a well-seasoned local (insert "yolo" here, again with the cliches).

This Ironman (in flipflops!) scaled cliffs and paved the path ahead for me. Somewhere in between the slippery rocks and frightening waves, I put my trust in this laid-back athlete and followed behind nervously laughing, telling him how just crazy he was to be challenging me to this seaside climb.

In hindsight, I was a little too trusting of my life to a total stranger. Hot or not, you have to listen to your gut (and not just his friendly surfer vibes). While he did not get the "final rose," he was in fact, a gentleman, an explorer and one hell of a tour guide. It's a shame we can't be as spontaneous without taking caution these days but sometimes you have to go out on a ledge because you never know who or where you might meet someone. And like the start of any relationship (or adventure), it's a risk worth taking.

Stay bitten ;)


I received an email yesterday from my friend Aaron who is on vacation with his wife. He said "it's more than amazing... it's ANDAZING. It's truly paradise, in paradise."

Before you start to question whether or not I work for the Andaz in Wailea, I'll just let you know that I only truly, rave about the places worth revisiting. Typically, I spend more time outside the hotel room, exploring the area, making new friends, embracing the culture. But we had already done much of that earlier in the week and the resort gave me an ongoing list of why not to leave, especially during our guided tour of the property.

And here's just a few reasons:
- Hawaii's first LEED-certified hotel
- organic sunscreen available poolside
- guests receive water bottles to refill (and commit to their eco conscious policies)
- open air lobby on the 5th floor looks out on the entire property (ideal for sunsets)
- a separate adults-only pool
- private lanai and plunge pools for ground floor rooms (no short end of the stick here)
- ideal setting to get maui'ed
- Morimoto.
- an apothecary lounge in the spa to create your own lotion (pre-massage)
- interior + exterior design, design, design

Stay bitten ;)

Friday, July 25, 2014

New Kid on the Block

There's a new kid on the block and it's the one you want to hang out with. He's a little bit cooler. The rest of the neighbors have been around for a long time. Your parents, your honeymooner friends from five years ago, that guy in finance, they all recommend a stay at the trusted, reliable one, because, well, it has been for years. But you are insistent on testing out the relatively unknown.

And that's the case with the recent addition, the Andaz in Maui. Driving thru Wailea, to your left a pristine, well-manicured golf course, to your right, another resort. When we pulled up to the impressive outdoor lobby, one that blurs the lines of the exterior environment with the interior, we knew this was not your traditional, next door neighbor. Take the amenities you're accustomed to and give it a refreshing upgrade, tuning into the once-overlooked details combined with the right blend of modern luxury.

You can use your points, book thru your antiquated travel agent over the phone or you can make your way next door, hang with the cool kids and enjoy the right stuff.

Love, surf and stay bitten ;)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An Appetite for the Andaz

As I bit into my lobster grilled cheese, glancing out at the tiered infinity pools, I realized that even thought I had checked in to the Andaz in Wailea just a few short hours ago, I had no intention of checking out as I developed quite the appetite for the place.

Start off the morning at Hawaii's version of a farm-to-table restaurant, Ka'ana Kitchen. With locally sourced ingredients, each item off the menu is selected and provided from nearby vendors, be it the 'ohana farmers or friendly fisherman. My pick: the poached eggs and hash browns (made of molokai sweet potato) accompanied with an avocado-watercress salad. An on-site breakfast beverage mixologist delivers the pressed juice that warrants a refill.

The Mokapu Market, open 24 hrs, boasts artisanal goods as well as pre-made sandwiches and salads, easy to pick-up for the Road to Hana or a day of exploring the island. Not to mention, stylish "aloha" cropped tanks and surfer hats to sport around Maui.

For lunch, the ahi poke kale salad, to be enjoyed poolside. Wash it down with a refreshing cocktail (or two or three) from the Bumbye Beach Bar, followed by an ice cream sandwich. I'd recommend the ginger molasses cookie with coconut ice cream.

To cap off an already indulgent day, treat yourself to the freshest sashimi at Maui's very own Morimoto. I had to try the abalone (pictured at the bottom) after reading this piece in my travel writing class by our teacher and his abalone diving experience.

And for the record, calories don't count on vacation. Only experiences.
Stay bitten ;)

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air - Ralph Waldo Emerson 

It's time for another summer weekend. Let's make the most of it.
Stay bitten ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday: Kid & Coe

I've got roughly 10 different hats hanging in my closet, from baseball caps to appropriate for horse racing. But of all the hats I put on, the one I wear when I'm "Auntie Luli" to my two adorable nephews is the well worn favorite. These two boys, who have me wrapped around their little fingers, are enjoying a week on Lake Winnipesaukee, a nostalgic summer spot for me.

And that got me thinking about other kid-friendly vacation rentals because while I may be an aunt who is tempted to crash a vacation in New Hampshire, I've got friends (and readers) with kids who could use some inspiration. Behold, Kid & Coe, a site that allows you to bring the little ones with you to the destinations you dream of visiting. Without skimping on design, Kid & Coe boasts an array of stylish rentals that come equipped with the comforts of home that your kids are accustomed to, plus toys to play with!

From Tel Aviv to Cape Cod to Palm Springs, the options are a plenty. So whether you're an aunt, a dad or a kid at heart, time to rethink about your next vacation and make that wanderlust a reality.

Stay bitten ;)

photos courtesy of Kid & Coe

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday: the Honeymoon edition

I work for an innovative wedding registry start-up, Zola, so it's only natural that my friends come to me with related questions. So when one of my favorite couples (a Zola couple, too) asked me where she should honeymoon, it seemed like a great opportunity for Wanderlust Wednesday because just the word honeymoon can make anyone's face light up.

Her current frontrunners, "FBB on TBB," as she put it are Fiji, Bali or Bora Bora. While I couldn't help but fall for the allure of the Four Seasons in Bali and Bora Bora, I was intrigued by Fiji's five-star eco resort founded by Jean-Michel, the son of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Decisions, decisions...

Where would you honeymoon? If you've already been on the trip of your lifetime, let Amanda and Mike know where to continue to celebrate (and relax) after their big day.

Stay bitten ;)
photos courtesy of the Four Seasons

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Road to Andaz

The Road to Hana isn't for everyone. If you can learn to appreciate the path you're on, especially when you don't know where you're going, embracing all the twists, turns, detours and speed bumps that get in the way, well then shotgun, you're in for quite the ride. 

We got carsick, lost on a one-way road, attacked by a flock of peacocks, missed the landmarks we intended to see, among other things, but we spent majority of the day laughing because like most great roadtrips, it ended up being an adventure in itself.

The following day we took a different route. A vacation from our vacation. Was it needed? No. I justified it in a two words: treat yourself.

We joked as we piled into our well worn rental, early the next morning, only to drive yet another hour from Lahaina to Wailea. We called it the Road to Andaz, where it wasn't about the journey, it was about the final destination. And once we pulled up to the property, we realized we had arrived.

Stay bitten ;)

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Grave Decision

Before my trip to Maui, I was driving in the car with my always adventurous father. As he navigated from downtown to uptown, he had me take notes on where to go and what to see in Hawaii. I took his advice with a grain of sand, as I'm sure the beaches of Maui haven't changed much but the rest of the island has been built up in the 20 years since he and mother last went.

His suggestions: mountain bike down Haleakala after hiking it for sunrise, eat pineapple (as my mom chimed in to bring some home), drive the Road to Hana, swim in the seven sacred pools and be sure to stop at the grave of Charles LindberghNot to be missed!

We soon found out that there are things to be missed, whether you like it or not. The seven sacred pools were closed. Well, you could hike to them but you couldn't go in the water. So we continued to drive on, with a few disappointed passengers in tow. While the drive was scenic and beautiful, I began to realize that we weren't so successful in our stops as we initially had hoped to be. We had stopped for lunch only to get attacked by peacocks and spent more time in the car than out of the car.

For me, I love the journey, a good road trip, windows rolled down, wind blowing thru my hair as I belt out a classic tune taking in the views. But this time, I felt the need to make it a bit more memorable for the rest of us. So I broke out my stubborn side (I'm a Taurus, it's only in our nature) and begged that we turn the car around as I was pretty sure we passed Charles Lindbergh's grave. That dirt road by the church on the cliff, that must be it!

Mary wasn't confident that our trusty rental car would make it down this path so we parked and agreed to walk the rest of the way. Good call as without cell phone service, we could have been stuck there for longer. The four of us high school friends, without discussing, hopped out of the car and used the "public restroom." Cooped up in a car, we were laughing like kids as we stood four ducks in a row. For me, the laughter that ensued made this stop worthwhile.

We hiked down the road in the sweltering heat and got to what looked like the edge of the earth, a picturesque place to be buried (or to take a jumping shot). I began to scope the property looking for his grave. Uh oh. When a Jewish girl gives you directions to pull over to a church, you might want to break out the map. Looks like we were at the wrong cemetery! 

Back in the car, we decided that our final stop on the Road to Hana would be the local winery. Can't go wrong there...

Stay bitten ;)