It's amazing what a little ALOHA can do!
"From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam... #GodBlessAmerica my #homesweethome !"
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!
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 :)
CAN WE JUST... I CAN'T EVEN.
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!
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!
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...
It's not scary to get older. Remember, age is just a number. Life is worth celebrating!