Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dancing With The Stars- Armchair Dance Judge!

I used to mourn the absence of The Bachelor and curse the beginning of Dancing With the Stars but I've done a flip lately. I'm not sure what that says about me maturing or growing into being a dance fan, but when DWTS began last night, I was jubilant.
Continue if you don't care that I got the names wrong on this first night of figuring out who is who.

I hadn't really researched the lineup ahead of time so was surprised to see Debbie Gibson from the 80's, the guy from Hamilton, the Lachey's (being treated like one person,) and that tiny gal with the violin who my teenage daughter watches on YouTube.

I'm going to love this season, I know.

Cheryl Burke is back and being punished for some reason.
Vanessa Lachey and Maks
Last night they scored her partner (one of the only guys with dance chops) Terrell Owens really low and as we sat sipping our chardonnay, my hubby and I wondered WTF. He's good. Granted, he went first but come on Len, Carrie Ann and Bruno! Next week, he'll earn at least a 7 or 8, I'm sure.
Did anyone notice that Barbara Cocoran of Shark Tank, sounded like she was trying to deflect lack of dance talent with cougar fun? Too much. She did what women have been fighting against for years. She objectified someone to gain favor. She went for her pro, Keeto, as a sexy object. BC did everything but take him down in the missionary reverse right there on the dance floor in a display of horny promo. Tone it down, Babs. Please. No deal to you.
Nick Lachey was in the boy band that couldn't dance, he said, and it kind of showed, but time will tell. He's funny and fun and might stick around long enough, just to see his wife, Vanessa Lachey go to the finals because she's that good and a proud MAMA of 3 children!

Lindsey Stirling, the elfish violinist who tours and dances and wears crazy costumes and hair, was a delight to watch as well. Matched with the returning genius of Mark Ballas, she's destined to go far.
Victoria Arlen and Val
I loved watching the gal who was basically in a vegetative state for years, came out of it and ended in a wheelchair for many more years and now walks. Not only walks but she's on DWTS! Victoria Arlen will be a fan fav for sure. I love these stories of determination and so do the producers on this show. Watch Victoria Arlen.
Can't wait to see what next week brings! Nikki Bella, Derek Fisher, Terrell Owens, Debbie Gibson, Frankie Muniz, Drew Scott, Sasha Pieterse and more!
I can't critique everyone but as people get eliminated, this armchair dance judge and her hubby will be able to keep up.

Go here for real names and info on last night's show.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What to do on Maui!

Maui - NO KA OI (Is the Best)

Me and kids at Hyatt with flamingos
Having lived on Maui for over a decade, I often get asked to recommend hotels, beaches, restaurants. Although the restaurants change every few years, the beaches do not. I try my best to keep up on the changes by visiting yearly :)

Here are some tips for Maui, if you’re planning a vaca to the Valley Isle this winter.
Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen.

When you get off the plane and get your car, consider going to Costco on the left if you’ll be making meals in a condo. It’s cheaper than Safeway on the West side.
Kmart is also a great stop for beach shoes, towels, snacks and snorkel stuff too.
We always make these two stops to load up.

Whale Season is January to March, not usually before or after, no matter what is said. Whale watches are usually successful. They are out there jumping, breeding, birthing but you can catch awesome glimpses of them from the Pali (cliffs) on the drive from the airport to the west side of Maui. Just don’t stop all traffic trying to turn left on that twisty road. Another great place to view whales is on the far north side of the island before the road gets treacherous to navigate.

Beaches for young kids

Westside Baby Beach – Lahaina  - Off north front St. is beach access (look for the blue sign) near “Jesus Coming Soon” Sign. Park on street and walk in to a sheltered long, beach facing Lanai.  Very calm, shallow with nice view of Lahaina harbor and Lanai.  Not good snorkeling but at high tide it’s possible. No toilets or tables but there is a shower.  All beaches in Hawaii are public and must have access. This is a great map of the west side.

Baby Beach – Sprecklesville – near Kahului Airport.  Take road to Paia/Hana but just before Paia turn left before big, modern sub-division.  This will be after turn to go up Haleakala.  Drive down road towards ocean and turn right to parking behind beach.  The beach is in front of Maui Golf and Country Club and parking is a bit tricky to find but it’s a good secluded beach for kids if the wind is blowing off shore.  There is a natural jetty that protects the shoreline from waves.

Wailea beaches are good too on most winter days.  Try next to the Intercontinental Hotel where there is a public beach access sign and excellent parking. Good snorkeling in there and restrooms. (I once took a young woman scuba diving there who had no use of her arms and legs!  It was tricky but rewarding!)

Kapalua Bay
Kapalua Bay has a lovely little beach but you must get there before noon to get parking. The access is north of the Napili Kai Beach club. Good parking and restrooms.  The best snorkeling is on the right side of the protected bay, just as the rocks start to disappear on the surface. Experienced snorkelers will love going around point to the north in amongst the rocks.  It’s a long way but gorgeous if the visibility is good. Turtles hang in here.

Airport Beach, north of Kaanapali is now called something Hawaiian but it has great parking, rest rooms, showers and a good enough stretch of coral parallel to shore to snorkel. Just north of Black Rock, across from the Sugar Cane train station, turn towards the ocean. This beach can have surf but on a calm day it’s wonderful.

Black Rock is wonderful because of the sea turtles who seem to hang there daily. If the surf is crashing in on Kaanapali Beach in front of the Sheraton, don’t bother.
Try parking at the 12 free spots just north of the valet parking for Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

Olowalu Stop for Goodies
Mile 14 marker at Olowalu can be very good snorkeling although the beach is close to the highway.
Tide differences in Hawaii are only 2-3 feet so low tide isn’t really an issue.

Restaurants – These change with the seasons but we like the Hula Grill on Kaanapali Beach at Whalers Village (lots of paid parking).  The kids can play in the grassy area if you get a table on the edge.  The Barefoot Bar next door has a sand floor which is fun too and you can get good pu pus (appetizers) there.  Sunset is visible and they have live music. We used to let our young son play with his trucks under the table while we listened to music.

Go to Kaanapali Beach Hotel for a drink and appetizers. The hula show at 7 is free and super fun. Friday night is kids’ hula. Very cute to watch. This hotel is a wonderful throw back to the old Hawaiian style. Love it. The restaurant is very good too.

Hailiimaille General Store if you are over near Kahalui or Sprecklesville at lunch.  It’s out of the way but renowned and a fun, funky place. If you’re over on that side go watch the surfers past Paia .

Cheeseburger in Paradise with once teenage son
Avoid Front Street for meals if you can – it’s really pricey.  Although Cheeseburger in Paradise is fun if you don’t mind paying $12 for a burger.  Longhi’s is world famous for pasta. I like Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina or Mala, next door. Also Cezanne's.
Hard Rock Café or Bubba Gumps is good for kids at the north end of Lahaina at Front St.

Thai restaurants on Maui are good too. I like Siam Thai Cuisine in Wailuku if you’re over there at the Iao Valley.  I like the walk around the Iao Needle.  It shows you the true Hawaiian foliage and jungle feel of the islands.  Wailuku is most like old Hawaii and the Iao Theatre is a fabulous old theatre featuring plays, on Market street.

Makawao Malasadas
If you’re in Makawao or upcountry at lunch or dinner  Poli’s Mexican is great food and kid friendly.  Makawao is a cowboy/ artsy town with lots of art in galleries.
Kihei has a Poli’s too - at Sugar Beach (north Kihei).

For finer dining and a real treat we love the Plantation House Restaurant on the Kapalua Golf Course – go at sunset.  Food is exceptional and kids are welcome.
Drinks at the Grand Wailea in Kihei, The Ritz in Kapalua, or The Hyatt Hotel is fun.
The Hyatt pool is fabulous for kids and adults!! Take the kids to see the penguins and flamingos and let them swim in the kiddie pool while you have a Mai Tai. Parking at the back of the hotel is free.

Parasailing just off Kaanapali Beach in front of Leilani’s at Whaler’s Village is great.  It’s a happy face parachute.  Not scary at all. They have a tandem set up so you can go with your child.

I think Condos are essential with kids
Look online for deals
We like Lahaina side because that’s where I lived.  The weather can be nicer, depending on time of year. 
North of Lahaina (Kaanapali to Kapalua) April-October sunny and nice but rainy in winter.  Recently I’ve stayed at Maui Eldorado which I found online somewhere.  We stayed in a beautiful 1 bedroom looking at one of the 3 pools and facing the ocean.  You have to walk through the golf course to get to Whalers village and the beach but we loved it and the price was right.
Napili is kind of secluded and too far away from stuff we like to do but cooler for sleeping and more quiet than anything in Lahaina.
Kihei is the other tourist side - down south and has lots of good condos. Families love Kihei for the beaches.  
Kamaole Sands condos are clean and nicely appointed.  Few are actually on the ocean side of the road.  You’ll go to the beach every day and be out in the car anyhow so ocean view may not be essential.
A rental car is absolutely necessary.  Public transportation is poor at best.
If you’re staying in Kaanapali at one of the large hotels, there is a nice boardwalk along the beach connecting to Whaler’s Village.

Sharks – There are VERY few shark attacks in the Hawaiian islands. The water is very safe. That said, stay out of murky surf at sunset, just in case. If you find yourself eye to eye with a shark, feel free to hook the eyes and dig. 

Do an introductory scuba dive while there.  Off a boat is more fun, easier and cost effective than from a beach. You'll see so much and have a wonderful time.

Souvenirs at Hilo Hatties or ABC stores. Cheaper.

The Road to Hana
The trip to Hana is fantastic but difficult with small children because of the long drive.  It’s very winding and twisty and car sicky.  There are lots of pullouts and waterfalls to look at along the way.  Start very early and zoom on through or be prepared to be on a long string of cars trying to get to Hana. Visit the general store while in Hana. George Harrison used to live a few miles down the road. If you save the sightseeing for the way home, you’ll beat everyone else. 
Go the extra few miles to Oheo Gulch or Seven Sacred Pools and if you have time I highly recommend the hike up to the waterfall through the bamboo forest.  The black sand beach is interesting at the Black Sand Beach Park with a nice walk along the cliffs.
Don’t drive the southerly back way to Kihei even though it looks shorter. It’s not. The road is very bad and a rental car company will not come if you have a breakdown.

If you love to hike –Haleakala Crater is wonderful!  Try to get as far as you can into the crater so you can really experience the desolation inside.  Sturdy shoes necessary as well as warm clothes.  Two months before going, enter your name in the monthly lottery to get a cabin (very, very rustic) in the crater.  There are 3 cabins in the crater that hold about 12 people on bunks and are found through the park service. Sleeping bag necessary.

The Ocean Center in Maalaea is a good rainy day activity with kids.

While on Maui, read THE DREAM JUMPER'S PROMISE. 
It's a mystery suspense novel, set on the West Side of Maui and is scheduled to begin shooting for the film version in 2018.
Find it here on Amazon

Have fun and try not to do too much while on Maui. Relaxing is as important as seeing everything.

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon #1 Bestselling Author who lives in Seattle, writing Suspense and Romance. Find her on Amazoto see how she opened shows for Jamie Foxx and The Smother's Brothers in Hawaii, then became a novelist.

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