Kauai Adventures

Every December I look forward to returning to Hawaii to kick off the holiday season. Over the last few years, we’ve split our time between two or three islands. This year, we decided to stay on Kauai for the entire week. Kauai is one of the most untouched islands in Hawaii. It’s largely covered by a tropical rainforest, and it’s full of majestic waterfalls and dramatic cliffs where movies like Jurassic Park and King Kong were filmed. It’s a laid back piece of paradise that should be on your radar if you’re looking for a vacation that’s a perfect balance between adventure and relaxation.

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The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is a special property. This is our fourth time staying at this hotel because it feels like an authentic Hawaiian experience. It’s an open-concept resort along the beach, so you feel connected to nature wherever you are on the property. There’s a lazy river, pools with water slides, and a gigantic salt water lagoon right next to the ocean (where you can usually find me with a coconut vodka cocktail). The Anara Spa is beautiful and newly renovated where you can get a signature Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage (ask for Crystal or Rachael - they’re the best)! The restaurants are some of the best on the island. Tidepools is a romantic, floating restaurant, surrounded by a koi pond, and Stevenson’s Library has some of the freshest, most interesting sushi combinations imaginable. My mouth is still watering thinking about those meals!

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Kauai is an ideal island for adventuring. Over the years we have made some amazing local friends (shout out to Amy and Kristal), who on this trip brought us hiking down a cliff to swim in Wailua Falls. We even swam, climbed and hiked to get behind the waterfall, which was one of the most magical experiences. Another must-see is the Na Pali Coast. This year, we ventured out with Captain Andy’s and rafted along the entire coast. We were even able to pull the raft into some caves to see hidden waterfalls. It’s definitely more of a bumpy ride, but one so worth doing because you get close and personal with nature in ways that larger boats don’t allow. At one point we even had hundreds of dolphins circling our raft!

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We love staying on the south side of the island, but it’s also worth taking a trip to see the north side. You’ll find lots of food trucks on your drive so be sure to stop at a few and enjoy the local flavors of the island. We had a delicious coconut-crusted Mahi and taro sweet potato fries from the Fresh Bite food truck and the one next to it. Once you’re fueled up from the food, there are beautiful beaches to explore. Anini Beach is a quiet area with warm water and soft, gold sand. We also checked out Secret Beach which felt like a private, special slice of heaven. Towering cliffs are the backdrop of this beach, and it’s surrounded by sections of lava rock. It’s called Secret Beach because it’s not the easiest to get to. No public road leads to this beach so you either have to hike to it, or go down a few unmarked, unpaved roads. The views and warm waters are so worth the adventure!

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It’s hard to not feel the spirit of Aloha when in Kauai. From the delicious local flavors, to the warm and welcoming nature of the people who live there, the island fully embraces you and makes you never want to leave. You get in a routine when you’re in Hawaii, one that makes you feel at home. One of my favorite daily traditions was every morning we would get kombucha from the Kauai Juice Company. The kombucha is made with all local ingredients, like dragon fruit and lilikoi - so flavorful! I always cherish our memories from the island, and it couldn’t bring me more joy to start off the holidays in one of the specialist places in the world.

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Fall Swaps

Fall is the perfect time to make simple swaps to upgrade your look! Just because it’s one of the coziest seasons, doesn’t mean that you should be sacrificing style for sweatpants. Here are three simple swaps to keep you comfortable, yet stylish though the fall!

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1. SWEATPANTS FOR CHINOS

Slip your sweatpants on when you’re at home watching your favorite show, cuddled up with blankets and a good glass of wine. Consider the days of them seeing the streets done. Sweatpants are often way too wide and unflattering to your body. They’re made with heavy, thick material which creates a frumpy and disheveled look. The good news? You can be just as comfortable in a pair of chinos without looking like you just woke up. Chinos are lightweight and soft, so you aren’t sacrificing comfort, and they’re tapered throughout the leg which gives a clean, fitted silhouette. Here are a few tips to pick out the perfect chinos:

  • Wear them two inches below your belly button (right above the hip bone), which will give you a long, leaner appearance AND if you tuck a shirt in, it creates a clean, even tuck without excessive bunching of the fabric.
  • There should be one to one and a half inches of fabric on either side for tailored fit that still allows movement.
  • Length-wise they should have a half-inch to no break naturally - no tailor is needed for these types of pants.
  • The pants should gently kiss your foot or if you want to roll them up, a touch longer is okay.
  • Color is your friend! Burgundy, navy, olives, golds - play with colors that compliment the season.
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2. SWEATSHIRT FOR LIGHTWEIGHT SWEATER

Sweatshirts are often frumpy, bulky, and to be frank, just messy. They shouldn’t be part of your go-to daily look because you deserve to wear clothing that makes you feel your best. The right V-Neck sweater can be just as comfortable. If you pair a super soft fabric (like cotton or cashmere) with a button-down shirt, you instantly will look like you’re fresh out of GQ. Here is your go-to guide for picking out the best type of sweater:

  • The tip of the “V” shouldn’t pass your armpits.
  • The opening of the “V” should be just wide enough so that your shirt collar tips stay tucked in - anything wider gives a sloppy appearance.
  • Shoulder seams should line up as close as possible to the end of your shoulders (not
    passed them or it’s too big).
  • Your sleeves should lightly hug your arms throughout - loose sleeves make you look heavier than you are, and sleeves that are too tight makes it look like you shrunk your sweater.
  • The proper sleeve length hits at the bend of your wrist. Slightly pull up the sweater sleeves so that 1/4 inch of your shirt sleeve underneath is exposed.
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3.ATHLETIC SNEAKERS FOR LEATHER SNEAKERS

I know it’s hard to let go of your favorite pair of running sneakers that you’ve had for years. They may even have some holes in them that remind you of years of fun while wearing them. Keep those memories safe in your closet and let’s make some new ones with your new go-to fall/winter sneaker. Leather is no longer just for your work bag, dress shoes or jacket. It’s now made as a soft and flexible casual sneaker. Here’s how to rock this type of shoe:

  • Go minimal. No crazy patterns, no crazy designs, just a clean leather sneaker. This will allow it to be a great day-to-night transition piece.
  • Stick to low-top vs. high top sneakers to achieve a dressier look.
  • Look for a round-toe vs. pointed-toe. This is a cooler, trendier look, and a round-toe is a more modern way to wear any shoe.
  • Start with the basics: brown, black, white - there are lots of dyed leathers you can play with (like my blue pair below) but start with the basics that go with everything to introduce this style into your wardrobe.
  • BONUS: Wear fun socks (argyle, polka dot, festive leaves) so that if you kick off your sneakers at some point during the upcoming holidays, you still look styling!

Dress Sneakers

 *This post is sponsored by Zappos

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Around this time of year, I start getting excited for the change of seasons mainly for one reason: fall fashion. As much as I love the summertime, I equally love the fresh, new style that Autumn brings. In fact, I’m guilty of ordering shoes mid-summer in anticipation for September. And I love playing with footwear. So what’s a trend I’m excited to rock this fall? Pairing a dress sneaker with a more formal outfit is top of the list. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the look of crisp Oxford dress shoes or Chelsea boots, but I also love that just by simply pairing a dress sneaker with a formal outfit, you instantly have an effortlessly cool look.

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When I saw this black leather sneaker from Rockport on Zappos.com, I knew I had to snatch it up. I love how the Oxford-inspired pattern gives the shoe a formal look, while the white sole keeps it playful and fresh. The shoe is a limited edition style to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the DressSports Collection and it does not disappoint. They’re extremely flexible, which is great for running around the city in, and even are made with truTECH, a comfortable technology system that adds long-lasting cushioning in the heel all day long. There is an anti-friction performance lining in the shoes which reduces heat inside the shoe for a cool, more comfortable shoe experience, and the heel is designed to provide additional support. I was surprised to find out that this style, Rockport Dressports, were the first type of shoes created with this type of athletic technology, dating back to 1983. As someone constantly on the go, I truly value footwear that looks good, but also keeps my feet supported all day long.

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I’m always on the hunt for great footwear, especially shoes that don’t break the bank. Zappos never fails in helping me find exactly what I’m looking for. They have free shipping and a 365-day return policy which is hard to come by these days. Being someone who constantly likes to switch up my style, Zappos couldn’t be more helpful in helping me do just that (or fueling my footwear addiction). Whether I pair these Rockport DressSports with chinos, wool pants, or even a suit, I’m excited to experiment with this new trend all season long. Just remember - go for a leather sneaker because it keeps your outfit in the “dressy” category. I look forward to seeing your dress sneaker style this fall. 😊

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Greece Getaway

Crystal clear water, cliffs lined with bright white and blue homes and sunsets so beautiful you think you’re dreaming. It’s safe to say that everywhere you look in Greece is picturesque. This is a country that my husband and I have talked about visiting for years, and it’s definitely one that I recommend putting on your travel list. The people were kind, the sights were breathtaking and the flavors of the food were spectacular.

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We began our trip with one day and night in Athens with a mission in mind: see the Acropolis. It’s one of the most iconic historical sites in the world, so to be standing in the ancient citadel next to buildings like the Parthenon was surreal. It’s said to be the place where democracy began. The Acropolis was also known as the center of Ancient Greece. The majestic entranceway to the Acropolis, known as Propylaia, was mesmerizing. It’s full of grand white marble steps and towering columns. Nearby you can also see an ancient theater, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, built in AD 161, the Temple of Athena Nike, and other historical sites. Just make sure to dress for warm weather if you’re visiting in the summer because it’s very hot on top of the hill. Also be sure to wear shoes that have a strong grip because the steps you climb to get to the top are very slippery.

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We worked up an appetite so we headed to one of the most famous vegan restaurants in Athens, Avocado. It was delicious! Between the fresh guacamole, crispy tofu, lemongrass veggie stir fry, and juices and smoothies, I was in heaven! Athens is a city that is very vegan-friendly which was exciting to discover. After lunch, we visited the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium, the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. It hosted the first ever Olympics, which is why this spot is so famous. At night, we met our friends who happened to also be visiting Greece for a delicious dinner at The Albion. The manager, Christina, created an entire customized vegan dinner for us. The hospitality and ambiance were unmatched. We called it a night to get ready for our journey to Mykonos in the morning.

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After a two and a half hour high-speed ferry ride, we arrived in sunny Mykonos. Our hotel, the Semeli, was in the center of town which was perfect for walking through all the action. The thing to do in Mykonos is to pick out a different beach club each day where you swim, have lunch and relax (or sometimes dance) all day long. Some must-visit beach clubs when you are in Mykonos are Principote, Nammos, and Scorpio. While the days are pretty zen, at night the beach clubs turn into actual clubs so you better be ready to put on your party hat!

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Of course we found our vegan spots in Mykonos like Bowl, which is a trendy spot full of local, organic, healthy foods. Their grain bowls, smoothies and juices were unreal! I also became hooked on fava, a popular local dip made from white beans. The manager of The Albion in Athens invited us to their other restaurant, Farma, when she knew we were heading to Mykonos. She gave us yet another incredibly special dinner at this farm-to-table restaurant in the quiet countryside of the island. Christina created another custom vegan menu and joined us for dinner as we sipped local rosé and learned about each others lives. It was a beautiful night that is one of my favorite memories of the entire trip.

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The last stop on our trip was the picturesque Santorini. Within five minutes of being on the island, I realized why it’s one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. It’s calm and quiet, in contrast to the party scene of Mykonos. Everywhere you look screams romance. The Andronis properties on the island are spectacular. With views overlooking the Aegean Sea and a staff that couldn’t be more welcoming, it was the perfect spot to catch up on some rest and relaxation after the busy first half of the trip. In Santorini you spend the days at different infinity pools and the nights trying different local restaurants. On the final day, we took a boat around the entire island that stopped at the hot springs near the underwater volcano and near the red rock and white sand beach before watching sunset from the water.

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Greece was a trip full of many wonderful memories. We celebrated life with friends in Athens and Mykonos, and had a special getaway in Santorini. I’ll never stop craving seeing the world, and to do that with my love, well, that’s just priceless. ❤️

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