Tag: not Covid

How to make a plumeria lei

When we first started coming to Hawaii in 2002, I fell in love with plumeria blooms and their scent. Did you know, the actual tree is rather odd-looking, usually knobby and with long large leaves. Plumeria come in many colors and yes, they can be strung together to make amazingly scented plumeria lei. Unfortunately for me, I have hay fever, and plumeria do set me off. However, thanks to Covid, my filter mask and nasal spray kept my nose ok.

One of our sons is graduating highschool this year – Class of 2021! – and so for the past 6 weeks I’ve been attending hula lessons in preparation for the traditional moms hula dance. Have you ever danced a hula? In 11 years of living here, I have not. In addition to learning the hula, someone had a brilliant suggestion – we should all make flower lei to present to our children after the dance. Oh sure…. I will admit to a little panic.

Fortunately one of my friends (fellow mom of senior) knows how to make lei. We have several white plumeria trees in our yard, and my friend had the needles and the know-how. What could go wrong? We got together for a practice session this past weekend, and then this morning was lei-making time. I went out at 6:30AM to pick the blooms, as my google search had instructed me to do. When you pick the blooms, the sticky white sap drips both from the tree and blooms – be careful as it is hard to get off. Plumeria don’t seem that fragile, but the more you touch them, the quicker they will bruise and wilt.

My friend arrived shortly after and we set to work. We measured a 4 1/2 feet of thread (we used double thread) and threaded our needles. She had a 4 inch crafting needle, I just used a regular needle. Then we pulled the needle through the center of the flower down through the stem and strung our lei. My next door neighbor has beautiful multi-hued (pink and yellow) plumeria, so we made a bit of a pattern – five white, one colored. Once completed, we tied the strand together. Because of my big hair, I kept my lei long, my friend shortened hers a bit. See my candy lei post for lei giving/receiving etiquette. You want the lei to hang down your front but also your back (not around the neck per se).

We are so pleased with how our plumeria lei turned out. We put them in ‘contraband’ plastic bags and flicked a little water over them before loosely tying the bags and placing them in the fridge. Don’t squeeze the air out of the bag.

Contraband plastic bags?

In 2011 Maui banned single use plastic shopping bags. You can still get small style bags in the produce and meat department, but at the til everything is paper or recyclable bags.

Hula?

Yes – we danced our hula at the graduation luau today. Usually this would be an evening event and we’d have danced outdoors on the lawn, however, due to Covid the hula and slideshow were done indoors (where they could control the lighting).

Here is Sig’s hula video. I am wearing a blue/white flowy shirt from Blue Ginger (Shops at Wailea – love this store) and black capris. And yes, I’m wearing my plumeria lei. We all wore our masks (this definitely helped with the hay fever from the plumeria scent). At the end of the dance, we presented our lei to our kids. It was lovely.

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How to make a candy lei

With graduation season upon us, I decided to make candy lei. As you know, lei-giving is a huge tradition here in Hawaii. For kids it seems the most popular lei are definitely candy and money lei.

Did you know – the plural of lei is lei. You don’t add an ‘S’ at the end of the word.

Candy lei – rather than flowers, you include candy. Money lei – it involves intricate folding of dollar bills and tucking/tying them into the lei.

I did some online research for my lei. There are many ways to do this, here is how I made mine.

My candy lei step by step

  1. Cut 4 1/2 feet of 2 inch poly tubing. Remember, as you fill/tie your lei, it shortens. It needs to be long enough to comfortably slide over the recipient’s head. The poly tubing was an order error – I thought I had purchased net tubing, apparently not). The poly tubing worked just fine.
  2. Cut ribbon in 5-6 inch pieces
  3. Organize your candy bags in front of you. Pro tip – in Hawaii chocolate melts very easily, even when in the shade. I purchased Skittles, Dumdums, Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts and as a nod to those who prefer ‘healthier’ options, Welch’s fruit gummies (you know, the Costco box).
  4. Slide the first candy into the tubing and tie it into place on both sides with double knotted ribbon. Then add the next candy and repeat. I ended up using approximately 13-14 candies per lei. I did not end up being able to use the Welch’s as the little packets had too much air in them. I did briefly consider poking a hole in the packets so they’d compress and fit, but…. I remember telling kids to carefully inspect their Halloween candy, so I didn’t tamper with them.
  5. Tying the two ends together to finish off the lei was a little trickier – the ribbon slid right off. I ended up holepunching both ends of poly tube twice and stringing ribbon through.
  6. I attached a little 2021 graduate tag and and curled all the ribbons

What do you think? I made 38 of these lei. Can’t wait to hand them to the graduates this weekend!

Lei giving and receiving etiquette

  1. When giving a lei, it is customary to kiss the recipient on both cheeks. Alternatively you can bow while presenting the lei to the recipient for them to place it themselves (this seems more appropriate during Covid times)
  2. Always accept a lei with a smile when it is given
  3. Wear the lei on your shoulders, with half of it hanging down your front, the other half down your back
  4. It is considered bad luck to re-gift a lei that you have received
  5. Should you be unable to wear it (too fragrant, interferes with what you are doing etc), place the lei in a place of honor.
  6. To keep a floral lei fresh, place it in a plastic bag with a sprinkling of water and some air, and place it in the fridge
  7. Some will return a lei to where it came from, such as hanging a plumeria lei on a plumeria tree. Do keep in mind that the string/fish line will cause problems for animals
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May 2021 Updates at our Maui Kamaole condo!

Our six month guests recently checked out of our Maui Kamaole condo. Spur of the moment I decided to update the look while getting the condo vacation rental ready.

We renovated this condo in 2016, installing a new kitchen, new main bath and updating the bedroom furniture. Now I decided it was time for some new living and dining room furnishings. This is a small island with limited furniture stores and on-island inventory, but I got lucky! I found a new sofa at Homeworld. The chairs are from Lifestyle Maui (you may recognize them – we have the same chair at our Kamaole Sands condo). The dining table, chairs and accent tables are from Bedmart. I also replaced the mirror and sofa art. Over the years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the large flower painting above the sofa. It came with the condo when we originally bought it in October 2010. I have enjoyed the blooms but the branches on the right and the brass frame have always made me cringe a little. Glad to have replaced it. And no, the new painting isn’t actually just grey – it’s just that my phone camera isn’t showing the colored accents.

I always love seeing the before and after shots. Have a look!

This condo has a distant oceanview directly from the kitchen and living room.

Looking from the kitchen to the lanai with the oceanview in the distance

I’ve got a tentative date with Flora the photographer to update our condo pictures in a few weeks and will post them when ready.

Wait – you had six month guests?

It sure has been a strange year. Just a few months ago we were steeply discounting high season just to get some bookings to pay property taxes and those steep monthly homeowner fees. Yes, this past fall we had several sets of guests come and work remotely out of our condos, all the while enjoying Maui. It was a win win for them and us. They got to work and play, we had income during the very slow Covid months. However, we are happy to be back to regular style vacation renting.

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Maui Chocolate Factory

Do you love chocolate? I love sweets and chocolate is one of my go-to treats. Did you know Maui has several chocolate growers?

This weekend’s Maui News has an article on Ku’ia Estate Chocolate. In fact, last summer someone gave me some Ku’ia individual chocolate pieces. The pieces I got were dark chocolate and absolutely delicious. For much more information on Ku’ia Estate Chocolate, how the owner got started 10+ years ago, do read the very interesting article in the Maui News! They work hard to give back to the community – in fact, last summer’s chocolate gift was from a fundraiser for a local charity. Ku’ia Chocolate offer tours and tastings. The factory/store is located at 78 Ulupono St in Lahaina.

A picture of my Ku’ia chocolte gift I posted on our Instagram last summer. Do you follow us on Instagram or Facebook?

Other chocolate growers on Maui

Doing a quick chocolate farm search on google, I’m coming across two other chocolate farms. Kupa’a Organic Farm is located upcountry in Kula and offers coffee and chocolate tours. Hana Gold Plantation is located in Hana. I’m not seeing tours offered, however have seen their chocolate in stores. I’m pretty sure there are more – send me a note if you know of any others and I’ll add them!

Have you ever been to a chocolate farm? I haven’t here on Maui, but a few years ago we visited a small chocolate farm while on a cruise off Honduras and Mexico. The chocolate was definitely calling to me (and calls to me still).

My favorite chocolate

While I definitely appreciate dark chocolate – particularly the fact that it’s something I savor and enjoy slowly, my favorite type of chocolate is milk chocolate. Having grown up in Austria, the land of amazing deserts, coffee and chocolate, my favorite is Milka chocolate. It’s so smooth, I can eat that whole bar in a matter of minutes. That’s why it’s best to not open it until I have a couple kids nearby. Ha!

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Reef safe sunscreens and sunburn remedies

This weekend I got the worst sunburn. It has been a long time since I last burned this badly. Yes I was wearing sunscreen. I just forgot to re-apply. This is ironic since I worked for a dermatologist for a number of years. Ugh.

Did you know, as of 2021 by law stores in Hawaii are not allowed to sell sunscreens containing reef-damaging oxybenzone and octinoxate. Of course, you may still bring these sunscreens into Hawaii, though in the interest of protecting our reefs, we would prefer you didn’t. Here is an article by the Star Advertiser with much more information about the new law.

Sunscreen options

Which sunscreens to use? My dermatologist friend’s favorites were Blue Lizard, EltaMD and Vanicream. Another great way to avoid sunburns is to wear UV protectant clothing and hats. There is also a product called Sun Guard which claims to add UV protection when used in the wash (not sure how long it lasts, I think you need to re-use it from time to time).

I don’t know about you – but I really don’t like wearing sunscreen. My preferred way to avoid sunburns is to stay inside until 4pm and then venture out. Yes, I realize I am missing out of beautiful days in the sun and I guess you should still wear sunscreen even after 4pm… but I’m not much of a beach body anyway, so I’m usually ok with that.

A few of my favorite products – no Advil doesn’t protect you from sunburns. But it helps with the post-sunburn pain. Ugh.

Sunburn remedies

The best way not to get a sunburn is to protect your skin. But when it’s too late….. hydrate, use aloe or aloe products, pop a few Advil for the pain, stay out of the sun and then moisturize to minimize large scale skin flaking. One product I came across a few years ago and love is Mauivera. On Maui you can find it at ABC stores, grocery and drug stores. Yes, Amazon carries it too. Do avoid after-sun products containing alcohol.

As for me – my sunburn is slowly calming down. Yes, I’ve learned my lesson. I will be covering up or staying in the shade for the foreseeable future.

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Current Maui Farmer’s Markets

This morning I saw a list of Maui farmer’s markets and thought – I know some people who may be interested! My readers! Here you are:

South Side
  • Saturday 8-12 behind Kukui Mall parking lot in Kihei (I am told this one USED to be located in the Fabiani’s parking lot)
  • Tuesdays 8-11:30 Wailea Village farmer’s market (check my blog post from a few weeks ago)
  • sadly the farmer’s market at Aloha Marketplace is gone
Kahului/North shore
  • Wednesdays – morning through mid-afternoon – Queen Kaahumanu shopping center in Kahului, center court
  • Wednesday/Friday 2250 Hana Hwy (Haiku area)
West side
  • Wednesday/Saturday Napili farmer’s market 8-12pm
  • Thursday Lahaina Jodo Mission 4-7pm
Upcountry
  • Saturday Maliko Country Farms at Oskie Rice Arena (Makawao) 8-12pm
  • Wednesday Farmer’s market at Oskie Rice Arena (Makawao) 8-1pm
  • Upcountry Farmer’s market at Kula Malu shopping center 8-11am (I call this the ‘crunchy market’ – go and you’ll see why! It is an amazing farmer’s market)
farmer's market
Saturday morning upcountry farmer’s market
There are also farm stands, open most of the week
  • Kumu Farms (at the Maui Tropical Plantation) Tues-Saturday
  • Kula Country Farms Mon-Sat 9-4pm – this is my favorite upcountry farm stand. They have strawberry u-pick Wed/Sat through mid June
  • North Kihei ABC Store Mon-Fri 8-4pm

Am I missing any that are open now in 2021? Send me a message, I’ll add them to this list!

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Did you know Wailea has a farmer’s market?

Wailea Village, the new upscale shopping area by Manolis Pizza Company and the Wailea Blue Course, opened just as Covid was beginning. They’ve had a rough start of it, with half the store fronts still empty. Management decided to help its shops out this past January by starting a Tuesday farmer’s market.

Every Tuesday from 8 to 11:30 vendors set up their tents and food trucks in the Wailea Village plaza. Today was my first time going, and let’s just say – it was a great way to start my day!

They had live music, flowers, two vegetable stands, two bakery stands (including my favorite Maui Artisan Breads), a variety of stalls selling juices, jams, cookies, breakie bowls, balsamic vinegars etc. It kept true to Wailea-standards, from what I could tell, good quality products.

Sabado Art Studio

My first stop actually was the Sabado Art Studio, one of the shops at the mall. I’ve been meaning to go in here for a while to get matching cushions for the Philip Sabado art rug we have at our Palms at Wailea condo. They helped me select some (reasonably priced) cushions right there. The artist’s son, who I have met several times, was there running the store. Do go in and have a look – they have some beautiful items for sale.

Farmer’s Market vendors

My favorite local bakery had a stand, but I had my heart set on trying the other sourdough bakery – Momo. I picked up a braided foccacia loaf and also an artisanal fig loaf. Both are excellent.

I looked at these protea bouquets, but realized we still have flowers in the kitchen and passed. But aren’t they beautiful?

The Maui Cookie Lab was calling my name and I picked up a few of their cookies.

Should you be looking for something to do on a Tuesday morning, do check out the Wailea Farmer’s Market!

Other shops at Wailea Village

While here, check out my favorite local card store Paper Garden. In addition to cards and gift wrap and such they host arts and craft workshops. Check out their website or follow them on Instagram for more information.

Love your coffee but looking to support local over say Starbucks, check out Akamai Coffee next to Paper Garden. They also have a store in Central Kihei across from Times Supermarket and a coffee stand in the Home Depot parking lot.

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Our Sugar Beach remodel is complete!

As you may know, we’ve been working on a remodel of our Sugar Beach condo. Pre-Covid we had discussed replacing cabinet doors, a few of which were starting to delaminate. But remodels rarely go the way you think they will. It ended up making more sense to replace the cabinets altogether. This in turn meant new counters – we chose quartz this time! I love it!

One of the things about our climate is that metal rusts quite quickly. Our appliances were definitely starting to rust, so we replaced those with stainless. Have you tried replacing appliances this past year? It turns out Covid has had a major impact on appliance manufacturers and, at least here on Maui, it was tricky getting appliances.

The ceiling fans needed replacing, and we’ve added a small ceiling fan with light kit in the bathroom which should help with condensation.

Sugar Beach #104
The California-king size bed with plantation shutters

Last but not least we decided to do away with the blue paint. When we purchased this condo in September 2010, the previous owner Joanne had most of the walls painted blue. Personally, I loved it. Over the years we’ve repainted the walls a lighter blue, but this January we did away with it completely. I love this even more. The entire condo seems brighter and bigger.

This afternoon I need to schedule the professional photographer to properly photograph the condo. For now, enjoy my amateur Youtube video! I love the results!

We hope one day soon to welcome you to our Sugar Beach condo!

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New Years Sunset

Yesterday afternoon we drove up Haleakala to enjoy a post New Years sunset. It sure was beautiful. And there were a lot more people than I had anticipated.

Walking up the sunset I caught this view!

Last time we went for sunset was just over a year ago at Thanksgiving. My bad, I assumed with less people on the island, there would be fewer people at the summit of Haleakala. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of parking in the crater valley parking lot, but the top lot (with the best sunset view) was overflowing with double parked cars.

A couple of observations

  • Arrive early rather than just on time. You want to make sure you get parking. While we arrived on time, the upper lot was full and we ended up having to walk to the summit. Not usually a problem, but at 10,000 ft altitude it’s a bit harder to breathe and you can develop a headache.
  • It’s cold up there. Yesterday afternoon the temperature at the summit was at about 50F. It dipped after the sun set. We were prepared, dressed in our long pants, winter jackets, mittens, hats, scarfs and hiking boots. Yes, we still have these things left over from 10+ years ago when we moved to Maui. We saw a number of people in shorts and t-shirts with beach towels wrapped around them for warmth. Fail.
Anyone cold? It was 50F and windy. They didn’t stay long
  • Yes, per Hawaii State mandate, even here you have to wear a mask. The bonus is that it keeps your face protected from the wind!
hey look, my mask matched my scarf and hat! I did remove my glasses for this glamor shot – they kept fogging up!
  • The crater valley, though always amazing, doesn’t have the stunning colors before sunset that you see in morning pictures. Closing in on sunset the valley just looks dark. If you want to enjoy it with all its colors, come earlier in the afternoon.
late afternoon crater view. It’s certainly not as stunning as when lit by the sun
  • Stay on actual paths – don’t just wander among the dirt and plants. The amazing and protected silversword plants grow here. Stepping on their fragile root system will kill them.
A silversword plant right next to the summit parking lot
  • Don’t just leave as soon as the sun sets. Just like at the beach, the sky turns the most amazing colors within half hour or more of the sun having set. If you wait til it’s nearly dark, you can stargaze on the drive down – now that’s spectacular! Have you ever seen the Milky Way with your naked eye? Just be sure to pull into an actual pull-out.
  • While to the summit is beautifully paved, there are no guardrails once you enter the national park. Yesterday my new-driver son (just weeks away from taking his road test) chauffeured me. There is only a small ‘lip’ at the edge of the road, so pay attention!
  • There really are cows on the road between the lower forest and the park gate (before you reach the national park). Watch for them. Especially at night they like to hang out on the road. The asphalt holds the heat.
Moo. We saw a surprising number of cows and calfs. These on the other side of the guardrail. Plenty right up by the road also.
  • Sunset is soooo romantic. Last night we were standing next to a couple. Next thing we knew, he had a little box with an engagement ring and was proposing to his now-fiancee. It was so romantic!
My son snapped a picture of this sunset proposal. So sweet. Yes, they dropped some cards in the shuffle (but did get them before finishing up).

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Maui’s own German Bakery!

Some of you may know that I (Cara) grew up in Austria. It’s been a while, but one of the things I really miss is a good grainy loaf of bread. While Costco has a decent loaf in their bakery section, it doesn’t come close to the Austrian/German Bakery of my childhood.

I remember my dad going for walks twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) to the bakery in our town and picking up fresh buns for breakfast. I’m not sure if it was because he loves fresh bread or because he wanted an early morning walk, but Tuesdays and Thursdays were my favorite breakfast days – fresh buns with homemade jam. Wow that brings back memories.

A few years ago the Maui Bread Company opened in Dolphin Plaza along South Kihei Road. It is a cute little bakery with great baking, but not the Austrian/German breads and buns I love. This week my neighbors told me the Maui Bread Company had reopened and…. that they were baking German bread. Had I checked it out and was it authentic?

Well….. yesterday (in the interest of research) Sig and I went for a walk down to Dolphin Plaza to the Maui Bread Company. The bakery still looks quite like it always did. Of course, it has the obligatory Covid plastic protective panels now and a sign at the door allowing only 4 people at a time…. but there they were – fresh buns, fresh loafs of German bread and even pretzels. A lady approached me to offer assistance and I detected a slight German accent. Next thing we knew, Christine and I were chatting in German, getting acquainted and hearing all about their journey in buying this little bakery.

Christine and her husband bought the Maui Bread Company in January 2020, then closed due to Covid in March. They’ve recently reopened and Christine’s husband, a master baker from Germany, just started baking German breads early December. It’s sourdough breads, all natural (possibly organic) ingredients, and some gluten-free.

Honestly – this German bakery made my week! The buns were amazing, the spelt bread fantastic. I do believe we will resurrect my dad’s tradition of walking to the bakery for fresh buns and bread. Once you’ve had it, you just can’t beat it!

By the way, yes, they are continuing to bake many of the goodies the former owners baked, including gluten free and vegan options.

What else can be found in Dolphin Plaza

Dolphin Plaza is a two storey stripmall that sits perpendicular to South Kihei Road, across the street from Kamaole I beach. My favorite stores there are….

  • Maui Gelato (get the lilikoi gelato if they have it)
  • a gift shop
  • the Maui Bread Co
  • Cafe @ la Plage – my friend Beth Cooper painted/decorated Cafe @ la Plage this summer (check it out!)
  • Koiso Sushi – Maui’s best (and most exclusive) tiny sushi restaurant (you need reservations weeks in advance).
  • a fish and chips place
  • a number of other restaurants, a nail place and of course Pizza Hut!

Please note, due to Covid and the severe drop in customers (due to the contraction of tourism), many businesses have scaled back their hours of operation. Do check to avoid disappointment.

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