Friday, July 29, 2011

The Coconut Coast to Hanalei Bay...Reasons to Visit Kauai

Gecko surprise!

Planning your next trip?? Need some fresh ideas? If you love water, adventure, fresh coconuts and well relaxation...come visit the beautiful garden island of Kauai!

Coconut Grove

I love this island!  My daughter lived here for 1 1/2 years so I got a chance to visit here just a few ideas of things to do on the East side also known as the Coconut Coast up to the North Shore.  And of course a few pointers of what "not to do" from our local island girl :)

But of course....first things first!  Where in the world is Kauai??  See the map above.  Upper left corner you will see the island of Kauai with the famous Napali Coast that I'm sure you've seen clips of in movies like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Carribean!  Who knows you may even run into some movie stars or catch a glimpse of some filming while you are enjoying your vacation! (yes last week Pierce Brosnan was standing in line behind me at the airport :) and I ran into Jeff Daniels buying snacks at Foodland ) haha so anyways......what fun things are there to do besides surf??

My friend Sarah's Plumerias

Of course make sure you have your camera always! You just never know when you will happen upon a Kodak moment! There's beauty everywhere!  Must start out every morning with a great cup of favorites are Java Kai in Kapaa or in Hanalei ...great selection of  yummies, even some gluten free items...fresh juices...and other fresh and organic eats.  But my favorite cup of jo is at Icing on the Cake, and island Patisserie serving Blue Bottle Coffee (the pour over method) and awesome macaroons!

A little windsurfing?

So now that you've had your coffee lets get moving!  Oh but, tip #1 from  my "island girl "....there can be alot of traffic on the high way so be aware of all the merging lanes and use them!  and be careful on the roundabouts...and well if someone is curteous and lets you go...give them the "shaka sign"  and if you dont know what that means?? click here, to look it up :) 

One of my fav beaches above...  north shore, Tunnels Beach. (Makua) named such because parts of the reef here have many arches and tunnels..Having an inner reef as well as an outer reef makes it a perfect spot  for snorkeling and diving...amazing views of the lush majestic mountains, tropical palms and ironwood trees.

Now that the cup of Kona has really kicked in! how about an adventure??  for the brave... visit Princeville Ranch Adventures offering ziplining, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking and more.  And if you dare to Zip and Dip?  ask for Josh! He's awesome and hilarious...if you're a bit on the nervous side, if its your first time Josh will have you laughing and at ease in no time :)

A little hike up to the "Blue Room" Cave

Near the end of the road on North Shore is one of Kauai's hidden treasures... The Blue Room the sunlight shines through the clear waters creating an amazing hue of blue that lights up the cave.  Its a little bit of a hike up off the road and then down a slippery slope to the wet cave kids went down there one time with there guitars and had a little jam session, my island girl said it was amazing the way the sound projected...okay well you dont have to hike down there carrying your instruments but bring your waterproof camera! for sure! :)

Anyone for a little BBQ'd eel?

Care for a little spear fishing?  My son above, caught this huge eel!  Said it was a fighter and took two of them to swim back with it to shore..but made for a nice bbq later that evening...if your into seafood!  Well if you dont feel up to fighting with an eel?  There are plenty of good places to eat on island :)

Helpful hint #2  when asking for directions from a local and they say "oh its on the Makai side"?  means ocean side.  If they say its "Mauka side" means mountain side.

Fresh Awapuhi makes a great addition to your shampoo :)

If while hiking you happen upon something that looks like the plant above?  Grab it and add it to your next shampooing!  Its hawaiian Awapuhi (wild ginger) pleasantly aromatic...just squeeze it and out comes an exotic sweet smelling gel!   Our friend Sarah gave us these as a treat!  along with the best tasting mango Ive had!!

Now after all this talk of hiking and strenous activity ready  for lunch or dinner? For our last night out in Hanalei me and island girl :) ate at a Brazilian and Mexican place called Neide's.  Awesome nachos! and the shot of tequila wasn't too shabby either!  But...what makes it best is these two sauces above....hahaha if you dare to try the one on the just ask for the "Ghost sauce" and your in for some fire!!!  go easy....just dab a little at first...its a killer.  I know!!!  but great flavor you just have to try it...and sit outside...the view is glorious!  waterfalls and lush green mountains...ahhhh I miss it already..

Of course...what is a vacation for me without visiting the local bead shops!  I love Divine Planet in Kapaa and Hanalei and this trip I happened upon this awesome jeweler's destination!  Crystal and Gemstones in Hanalei.  Lots and lots of very cool stones!  Lots of  druzy's and rare finds...I believe Randy said his wife is from Brazil and so are alot of the collections there...

a must stop for any one who loves to make jewelry like I do!!!  and if you pop in, say Hi to Randy for us!

And of course, if there's a lighthouse around?? Im there...remember I love nostalgic...and romantic!  Here's Kilauea Lighthouse....

Helpful hint #3....please...I know that everything is picturesque, but PLEASE when driving up to north shore and you see the waterfall right off the road??? DO NOT STOP to take a pix!!  we totally almost rearended a jeep last week that completely stopped to snap a shot.!!!  My island girl said "please put that in your article!!!"  she said it happens ALL the time!  so be safe....dont let a little excitement ruin your lovely vacation..

Lavender Hibiscus

Yes flowers like these are everywhere!!!  maybe pick one and wear it in your hair....then you will really feel exotic :)

Island Dogs play fetch with Coconuts! :)

yes the dogs here play fetch with coconuts....well of course! you are in Kauai!

Rainbows and Waterfalls by Heather Hathaway

Remember rain is frequent, that is how the island stays so be prepared to see plenty of rainbows!  Oh and I almost forgot....Farmer's Markets are frequent too!  You must go! Pick up a copy of 101 Things To Do,  Kauai at the local market there should be a Farmer's Market Guide as well as a ton of ideas (well at least 101)  of places to go and things to do!

"King Kong" Mountain Range

Well hope you found this helpful and enjoyable :)  and tip #4???  WEAR SUNSCREEN! especially on the first day...the sun can get pretty intense and you will be miserable if you get burned the first day :(


Monday, July 18, 2011

A Quick Glimpse Into Kauai Shelling Trip!

Aloha!  Just thought I'd give you all a glimpse of Kauai this morning :)  It' been gorgeous this week! Above is a pix of some gorgeous treasures from North daughter told me not to disclose the exact location...sorry :)  No...I did not pick these ones myself...Im a little chicken to go in the water and shell for them these came from my friend Josh...he's got an eye for the good ones!   And so graciously let me glean from these...

I, on the other hand love to sit on the beach and pick through this kind of pile for pukas, cat eyes, kahelelani's and whatever I can find!  It's amazing what you will find...I can't wait to come home and get busy creating some new jewelry...I have some very good size shells for some simple pendants and will also try to create some cool wire wrapped stay tuned!

This pix was taken at my favorite beach on the North Shore....Tunnels Beach

This is a pix of Glass Beach.  It was awesome!  Even though we went at high tide so we couldn't go and grab the freshly brought in tumlbed glass, there were large slabs of rocks everywhere covered with sea glass....gorgeous aquas and blues and greens....a sea glass lover's delight!  A bit of a  trek to get down there, but worth seeing it...and well of course worth getting some!  Hope to incorporate some sea glass into my next beach jewelry creations.

A view of King Kong Mountain range...from our friends balcony while we were having dinner...Isn't it amazingly lush and beautiful!  and if you were to look over your shoulder to the left was a full moon rising over the ocean...breathtaking!

Sunset over Hanalei Bay

Okay so just a glimpse...stay tuned for more to come ....I will be writing an article on "Reasons to Visit Kauai"  with some good vacation "things to do" come back and visit SomethingSeaBlue soon!


Monday, July 4, 2011

STAX and Sax! A Little Wine, Ocean Breeze and a Bit of Bossa Nova..Reasons Visit to Morro Bay

Ahhh yes...nothing like getting away from the hustle and bustle, to sipping a glass of red zin,  entertained by music from around the world...and that! my friends is what you get at the coolest little wine bar on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay!   At STAX you can choose from over 100 local and international wines, do a little cheese tasting or eat some amazing food!  All to the sounds of local saxophone artist David Baron Stevens and guitarist Gary Drysdale.   But where  you may ask in the world is Morro Bay?!

I love maps!  See the red dot??  Morro Bay is located on the Central Coast of California...complete opposite coast from my last article on East Coast Tybee Island, Georgia!  Anyways...this quaint little historic fishing villiage is full of activity for everyone...from waterfront hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts to just walks on the beach, kayaking, kite flying, seaside golfing, whale watching, bird watching, sailing, fishing, hiking, and of course EATING at some of the finest! and the list goes on!  But to really get the feel of where you are and how this enchanting place came to be... you must pay a visit to the Museum of Natural History in the park.  But now you may wonder...why the famous Morro Rock??

Morro Rock....pix taken by local sax artist David Baron Stevens

Morro Rock was named in 1542 by Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, who explored the Pacific Coast for Spain. Cabrillo called the rock El Moro because it resembled the head of a Moor, the people from North Africa known for the turbans  they wore. However, the dictionary definition for the Spanish word "morro" ("pebble") is also consistent with the shape of the rock. Morro Rock is one of the "The Nine Sisters" representing a very rare alignment of hills, formed from the plugs of long-extinct volcanoes. They are prominent landmarks forming a unique skyline in San Luis Obispo County located between the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Its a gorgeous site...on a clear day surrounded by the crystal water with sea otters playing about.  Definitely a sight to be seen...last night it was gorgeous with a fingernail crescent moon rising above it....

So, if all this isn't reason enough to plan your next vacation is a glimpse into our random evening in Morro Bay last night...I decided to take mom out for a relaxing evening...a little getaway from!  :)  just a short hop skip and jump from where we was like entering into another little world....We had never been to STAX but our friend David's amazing playing was calling us...and what a gorgeous day on the coast!  David and Gary played some of the best jazz to be heard!  Mom and I are in love with Bossa Nova so from the opening song, Antonio Carlos Jobim's The Girl from Ipanema" ("Garota de Ipanema")  to "Desafinado", we were in heaven!  David Baron Stevens has captured the essence of it with his amazing voice and well without the magic fingers of Gary Drysdale it would not have been Bossa Nova at all!

Stacy and Tay enjoying some champagne...

Just to show the inviting comfortable atmosphere of STAX...we ended up meeting some amazing visitors...such as the Fresno couple Stacy and Tay...just trying to get away from the stresses of life they traveled to Morro Bay...and according to Tay...the sounds of the saxophone put her right at ease!  So much, that when David was nearing the end of his performance she begged him to,  as she put it , "please just keep doing what you are doing!!!" 

So of course that was encore enough and the show went on....

Then we met another lovely couple celebrating their 4th anniversary, Joanna  and Lalo.  Visiting from a little further down the coast, from Santa Cruz, CA.  Joanna is a poet and author of The Meaning of Wings.  And wow, what amazing dancers they are!  They entertained us with their grace...wonderful people...

Everyone was chatting and enjoying wine and champagne and well as you can see...a bit of dancing??  That's what David's music does, it stirs you and you  just can't help yourself from the feet tapping under  your chair!  They had to just get up and dance!

Of course, you can not just sit there and not savor the amazing tastes coming from the kitchen!  We had this wonderful gourmet cheese platter, perfect compliment to the red zin I was savoring :)  the buttery caramel notes of the Midnight Moon to the tangy Irish cheddar marbled Porter's Cohiel.  Oh and I can't forget the delicious savory Marcona almonds fried in olive oil and dusted with sea salt.  Our server Linden made sure we were well taken care of....

So how about itching to go???  I say "Do it"!!!  "Go for it"!  you will not be dissapointed and I guarantee you , you will want to return year after year....or who knows you may even decide to relocate!!!  How amazing would that be!!   To have STAX  and Sunday SAX a part of your weekly routine :)   Thank you for reading and remember to always take the time to enjoy life, smile and relax and as David Baron Stevens says....come and "Hear some wine and drink some jazz!"

Crescent moon over the rock....

STAX Wine Bar
1099 Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA  93442
 (805) 772-5055

Unison Saxophone Artist
David Baron Stevens

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Bangles" Jewelry Store in Tybee Island Georgia, "Crazy Cool Jewelry", Reasons to visit Tybee Island..

Bangles "Crazy Cool Jewelry", Tybee Island, Georgia

Congrats to Cathy! owner of new store Bangles in Tybee Island, Georgia for her Grand Opening yesterday July 1st!!  But where in the world is Tybee Island???  That's what I said when first asked if some of my jewelry could be part of this wonderful new endeavor...

I know visuals are always here is a map! See the little red star way out there???  It's
 an island and city in Chatham County, Georgia near the city of Savannah in the southeastern United States. It is the easternmost point in the state of Georgia.  This 5-by-3-mile island beach town, even though it is a vacation destination it has managed to keep the "real " family and community feel.

Tybee (the Euchee word for salt) Island abounds in art, history and music...perfect vacation destination to just unwind and relax in the ocean breeze....and stroll through town, perhaps for those loving history explore 400 years of island history at the Tybee Island Museum.

An inside peek of Bangles...

And be sure to stop in and say hi at Bangles!  This new little jewelry stop destination is located at 1213 US Highway 80, STE C  .  If you are looking for cool unique one of a kind will find them here! 

I am definitely a lover of lighthouses...they are so romantic and full of mystery!  The Tybee Lighthouse is one of just a handful of 18th century lighthouses still in operation in North be sure to stop by and take a pix!

And if at Bangles and you see,  well...SomethingSeaBlue!  Grab it!  its the only one of its kind :)  and it will be a good reminder of your coastal getaway made with bits of the sea... and then just for me since I love turtles!  Remember Tybee Island is home to two endangered turtle species and one "unusual" species. Loggerhead and leatherback turtles are endangered and like to nest in the sand found along the beaches of Tybee and Little Tybee Islands.  So watch where you step and when you are driving because nesting season is May 1 - Oct 31.

Last inside peek....

Now another interesting reason why I'm thrilled to be connected to Tybee Island is that it was the filming location for Nicholas Sparks last movie!  The Last Song.  I love all Nicholas Sparks books, probably because I love the beach, small coastal towns, turtles and lighthouses!  and he has all these elements in his books :)  for the most fact I read the book Nights In Rodanthe and when I saw the awesome house on the beach used in the movie I had to go and see it for myself! So I dragged my kids from California and we did a road trip  down the east coast to the Outer Banks,  to the charming town of Rodanthe!  and yes I saw the house :)  and rode horses on the beach! Amazing and unforgettable...inspiring to say the least...  Okay anyways thats a whole other story... so back to the Last Song...

Wrapping up getting ready to say goodbye :)

Basically its a story about Steve, a former Juilliard School professor and concert pianist, now lives a quiet life in Tybee Island, the small Georgia beach town where he grew up, and he has a chance to reconnect with his estranged daughter, played by Miley Cyrus, when her and her brother spend the summer with their father.  Much of it occurring on the island's beach and pier and surrounded by her helping to preserve a family of sea turtles...   So watch the movie and it will just make you want to plan your next vacation to Tybee!

So what do you think??  Be adventurious and go somewhere you have never gone inspired...   I think...that me, Bangles and Tybee Island were a match made in heaven :)

1213 US Highway 80, STE C
Tybee Island, GA 31328

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