Monday, May 18, 2015


It's amazing what a little ALOHA can do!

"From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam... #GodBlessAmerica my #homesweethome !"

I cannot believe this is my life! You would have thought I teleported into an alternate universe for the last seven days, but I was in AMERICA and it BLEW. MY. MIND.

The beautiful island of MAUI, HAWAII was host and home to a little early #happybirthdayEPG #EGP30 celebration for which I will be forever grateful!

It all started with a little dinner conversation in NYC back in March. My "adopted cousin" Diane and I were catching up and she mentioned she was taking her annual personal VACA this year to Maui.

I was like... "can I catch the wave, crash your playa, fit in your suitcase?" 

She was pretty sure about flights and some resort details from her research and said she would send them my way to take a look at before we pulled the trigger on tickets. I think I mentioned it to my Mom that very night that this looked like it was going to happen. I mean, make your own luck... Everyone says, "you're so lucky you got to ____!" Well, be a "DOER"... just do it! I've always been that way... and obviously I'm very blessed and fortunate to have opportunities and the means to make the magic happen, but seriously. You only live once. Book the flight. Go. Make your life!

One quick convo turned into a flight, a rental car, a LUAU ticket, and a new maxi dress and a little less than two months later we were on our way nearly half way around the world!!! 

"She believed she could... so she DID!" - R.S. Grey, Scoring Wilde

Now, let me introduce the other party present in our MAUI Memories...
She is a LOCAL and gave us the tour of a lifetime in her beautiful home state!

I would have to say the best thing about having competed in Miss America and Miss USA is that I now have at least two friends in every state! My "Miss Congeniality" at Miss America 2006 was Miss Hawaii, Malika Dudley. And I mean really, she would me Miss Congeniality... she lives in HAWAII!!! THE ALOHA SPIRIT is alive and well - everyone is SO SUPER NICE and hospitable - she had nothing but practice!

All jokes aside, my beautiful and accomplished friend has been nothing but one of my biggest cheerleaders and has begged for me to come visit for a decade. That's commitment!

For the last 10 years... (yes, it's been 10 years since we competed together on that Superbowl of a stage in Vegas) Malika and I have stayed in touch via social media, but she has also visited me in NYC and she and her hubby, Kaimi came to see me compete at Miss USA on a babymoon before this guy, Jackson, was born 2 years ago!

Heartthrob... He's a ladies' man for SURE!
The best LEI ever :)

This was the FIRST of multiple rainbows we saw on the daily!

Our BLUE rental JEEP was the bomb!

We were ready with our #SHAKA signs, fresh Hawaiian air, leis, and obviously... trucker hats! Thanks, +Palm Casual Patio Furniture ) #lethawaiihappen !

Our first sunset.
Hyatt Maui Resort & Spa

We spent all afternoon and evening saying, "WOW, WOAH, HOLY COW, OMG!" 
It was breathtakingly beautiful everywhere we looked! It was NUTS! 


The next morning we were up early and excited about lots of SPF and a good book by the pool at the resort. We took a walk on the beach and grabbed killer pics (surprise) and just enjoyed a variety of fruity drinks and snoozing... I mean, before we become locals, we have to have a vacation! HA!

After plenty of fun in the sun we got ready for our only tourist move of the entire trip...  #LUAU.

The Drums of the Pacific Lu'au on the resort was a spectacular way to end our first full day in Hawaii! I mean you only have one first trip to HI!


Ok... so day 2. Time to hit the road! We stopped for coffee at a local place one of my Facebook friends told me about... Maui Grown Coffee! AMAZING samples and some purchases were made and the BEST almond milk LAVA JAVA latte was consumed and celebrated!

I had tweeted to Kip Moore when I started planning my trip to ask him for some favorite spots on Maui since he surfs here all the time!
He quickly recommended PAIA! We grabbed fish tacos at a little place on the corner on Main Street and made sure to have Gelato for dessert before we hit the road.

We experienced both a day trip driving around the massive volcano on Maui AND the next morning we got up early and drove up to the summit for the most spectacular sunrise I've ever seen in my life. It's about 77 degrees F on the road to Hana below the mountain (sea level) at 3pm vs. about 40 degrees at the summit (10K feet) around 5am!!! Diane and I were very glad Malika had winter coats for us to borrow! There were native Hawaiian chants and sun salutations during the sunrise. It was an awesome sight to see the silhouettes of the people on the mountain as a new day was dawning!

  1. Haleakalā
    Mountain in Hawaii
  2. Haleakalā, or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The western 25% of the island is formed by another volcano, Mauna Kahalawai, also referred to as the West Maui Mountains. Wikipedia
  3. Elevation10,023' (3,055 m)
  4. First ascent1828
  5. Prominence10,023' (3,055 m)

Diane and I were looking forward to nearly 2 full days with all water activities! Surf Boards, Paddle Canoes, Standup Paddle Boards, Snorkeling, you name it! 

We took a tour of some of the nearby beaches with Malika after our morning at Mount Haleakala and ran into a group of Green Sea Turtles just sunning themselves on the Ho'okipa Beach... Of course Malika and I had to be silly and have a little photo shoot.

MERMAIDS ARE FOR REAL! Holy cow... though it will certainly take me a looooot of work to rock the fins effortlessly in the waters of the Pacific, Malika is a PRO!

On our last morning in Maui before our flight (about 6am) we headed out to Makena Beach (also known for it's sharks!) Not to worry, we packed our fins and our "Shark Shields" which are used by the US Military to keep their divers safe. If it's good enough for them, then it's good enough for us. You clip the charged device on your surfboard, boat, ankle etc... and then there's a leach that extends behind you or down from your board into the water and emits electrical pulses that extend a good way into the surrounding water causing fish and sharks to leave that area due to the frequency of the "shock." It's basically a dog's shock collar effect in the open water. Pretty cool.

A full day of surfing = SO. TIRED.
Malika is an awesome teacher. Here's a shot from the go-pro camera attached to the end of my board. We had to juggle catching waves around a LOT of new and beginner surfers, but the morning flew by and we were successfully bronzed and hungry by the time we left the water.
I was able to get up on my knees several times and once or twice I landed a full stand on the board. Till next time...

I cannot begin to express the sentiments felt throughout this entire experience. I am so happy to have pulled the trigger on a trip for ME! I travel all the time and certainly make the most of my time in any new place, but to truly drop a pin on a map for FUN is the most liberating experience. To have no responsibility for work or concept of time, or bullet points to check off on someone else's agenda is freeing and absolutely creates the perfect environment for CELEBRATION! I am excited about this new year of my life and I cannot wait to see what opportunities, relationships, and moves forward come about in my life with another year of learning under my belt.

It's not scary to get older. Remember, age is just a number. Life is worth celebrating!

  1. 1.
    publicly acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.
    "they were celebrating their wedding anniversary at a restaurant"
    "they were celebrating their birthday"

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