Tag: not Covid

Please – don’t touch the wildlife

I would think it would go without saying that you shouldn’t touch wildlife. However, apparently some people need it spelled out.

Hawaiian monk seals

Various news stations reported yesterday that the State has launched an investigation into people getting to close or even touching monk seals. Did you know, you can get fined up to $50,000 for harming or harassing a monk seal? Did you know Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species? Scientists estimate there are 1400 Hawaiian monk seals alive today – they think there are 1100 in the Northern (uninhabited) Hawaiian islands, and approximately 300 in the main Hawaiian islands. In fact, it makes the local news when monk seal pups are born.

Turtles

wildlife
a turtle at the Maui Ocean Center

Turtles are also included in Hawaii’s protected wildlife. Our family moved to Maui 11 years ago. When we first moved here, it was pretty rare to see turtles at the beach. In the past decade turtle sightings have become more common which is wonderful! However, please do not approach and definitely do not touch turtles. A number of years ago there was a crazy story about people trying to ride a turtle. Isn’t that a Disney thing?

The DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) and NOAA both recommend keeping a distance of at least 10 feet (3 meters) from turtles. Here is some information on what to do if you see an injured or entangled sea turtle.

Did you know there are five turtle species in Hawaii? The most common turtle species are green turtles and the endangered hawksbill turtles. A number of years ago we were able to witness the scientific unearthing of a hawksbill turtle nest. It was an incredible experience.

Coral reefs and reef fish

Snorkeling and diving are two of the most popular activities here in Hawaii. But did you know, stepping on the reef can cause significant damage to the coral? Please do not step on the reef and please also do not touch the coral or fish living in the reef. Do take pictures instead!

grainy photo but yes – that is a baby wild pig the size of a cat in my yard, photo taken by our neighbor. Our cat was suitably terrified.

Invasive Species

Yes we also have some not-so-endangered wildlife on Maui. In fact, wild boars and axis deer are considered invasive species and are hunted for population control purposes. Chance are great you will not see a wild boar, but do keep a lookout for them especially if out hiking. While generally human-shy, they will come down into populated areas in search for food. On occasion I have seen them as road kill on the side of the road. Last winter we actually had five baby pigs that came down the gulch and ran around our neighborhood until someone finally caught and relocated them.

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Minigolf on Maui

Have you driven past the Maui Golf and Sports Park at Maalaea Harbor and wondered what that was? Minigolf on Maui? Surely that is too small a place to be worth going to?

When you walk into the Maui Golf and Sports Park you will be surprised. This wedge-shaped property is incredibly well designed to fit two 18 hole minigolf courts, extreme trampoline, a small climbing cliff, mini volcano and – the piece de resistance – bumper boats.

Over the years we have hosted a number of kids’ birthday parties here. While minigolf is a lot of fun, really, all they want to do is ride the bumper boats and use the super soakers to spray their friends and parents watching from the sidelines.

We recently took our youngest for his birthday again. As of this week masks were optional – on Maui you currently need to wear masks indoors but not outside (and this place is outside).

A few things of note:

  • it’s Maalaea, it will be windy. Wind can be deceptively cooling – remember to use sunscreen so you won’t burn.
  • wear something that can get wet and bring a towel/change of clothes. After a round of minigolf the bumperboats are super refreshing. You could technically stay dry, if you convinced everyone not to use their spray guns, and if you kept the boat out of the waterfall. But where’s the fun in that?
  • Yes, they have two large bathrooms with plenty of room to change.

Other birthday considerations

oh those mango malasadas were amazing. Found these at a small pop-up bakery

This week’s birthday festivities included

  • mango-custard filled malasadas
  • a Cold Stone icecream cake
  • dinner at Outback Steakhouse (Roundtable Pizza was a close second choice)

Mango malasadas? I stumbled across a pop-up bakery (Coppa’s) on Facebook that made these to order. They were filled with a mango custard. They were very delicious.

Malasadas are Portuguese-style donuts, made fresh to order. Typically you can get them plain or with a custard filling, or guava jam filled (at Komodas). Our family has a birthday (and special day) tradition of picking up malasadas for breakfast.

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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 cocoa 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 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 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 gift I posted on our Instagram last summer. Do you follow us on Instagram or Facebook?

Other cocoa growers on Maui

Doing a quick cocoa farm search on google, I’m coming across two other cocoa 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 cocoa farm? I haven’t here on Maui, but a few years ago we visited a small cocoa farm while on a cruise off Honduras and Mexico. Their bars were definitely calling to me (and calls to me still).

My very favorite

While I definitely appreciate the dark variety – particularly the fact that it’s something I savor and enjoy slowly, my favorite is milk chocolate. Having grown up in Austria, the land of amazing deserts and coffee, my favorite is Milka. 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!

On a related note, have you tried Maui’s coffees? Which is your favorite?

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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 market (check my blog post from a few weeks ago)
  • sadly the market at Aloha Marketplace is gone, replaced by a couple food trucks
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 markets 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 markets
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? This list is always in flux, with regards to locations, days and times. But I sure love buying directly from the farmer and supporting local businesses.

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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