Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Travel Tuesday no.27 // Lanai

While we were in Maui, we decided to book a one day sailing trip to the island of Lanai with Trilogy since it was an excursion we could do that included the kids. We departed from Lahaina Harbor early one sunny morning and it was a beautiful day to be out in the ocean. The waters were calm, there was a light breeze, and they served us some delicious food on board. I loved every moment of the relaxing journey. There's something so incredible about the endless span of blue that gets me every time I am on a boat.

Since our vacation happened back in March, it fell during the humpback whales' migration period, where they travel thousands of miles to the warm waters of Hawaii to mate and nurse their young. We spotted several whales during our sailing trip and I was in awe of how these beautiful creatures could be so huge yet graceful. It was definitely a highlight of this day for me. We even saw one breaching from far away and my camera zoom couldn't quite capture it, but here's a quick collage of some (very cropped) photos I managed to snap.
Some beautiful sea cliffs we passed on our way to Lanai! They were over one thousand feet above sea level and were formed through weathering and erosion, as the waters hit the rocks and carved out these incredible cliffs.
Once we got to the island, we joined their van tour around town. I had very limited knowledge of Hawaii, so I found the van tour informative and interesting. 98% of Lanai is currently owned by Larry Ellison and it got its nickname as the 'Pineapple Isle' due to the fact that it was formerly the largest producer and exporter of pineapples in the world, before pineapple production moved overseas due to cheaper labor. Our local tour guide drove us around their quaint town (there are no traffic lights on this small island!) and she often had funny anecdotes about the places and how they related to her family, who have lived here for generations.
I spotted these little pineapples growing near the Four Seasons hotel. Cute!
We headed to Hulopo'e Beach and Marine Preserve afterwards to hang out and enjoy some snacks. Some people opted to go snorkeling but the waves looked rough today so we didn't venture out. Instead, we chose to hang out by the shore and dip our feet in the cool water instead. I still remember how soft the sand felt beneath my feet - it was wonderful.
We still had a bit of free time left so we went to explore the tide pools. It was a fun experience looking for tiny fish and sea creatures in these shallow pools of water and this photo of my brother-in-law and my nephew is one of my favorites I snapped that day.
After an early barbecue dinner with everyone, we headed back to Lahaina on our catamaran. The waters were a little choppier and the wind was strong enough for us to put up our sail, so it was a breezy ride back. The crew served us drinks and ice cream (we were really well fed throughout the day, which was really nice) and I simply enjoyed the boat ride, more whale watching, and the beautiful ocean view. All in all, it was a great day.

One more Hawaii travelogue coming up...Oahu next! Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Taiwan Travel Mini // Part I

The number of travel minis I want to make is getting a bit out of hand, so I decided to start with my most recent trip for my latest mini-book project. Thanks to a photo print sale at Costco, I got all my Taiwan photos printed and ready for this album about a week after my trip - probably a personal record! This was a fun project to put together - manageable in size since it was only a four day trip - with plenty of photos and memorabilia to document.

Aside from the album (a black 6x8 Project Life album), I didn't buy anything in particular for this project. I made good use of my stash of leftovers from my Studio Calico kits, Kelly Purkey stamp sets, and of course, my own printables. I'll point things out here and there, but if you have specific questions, let me know in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them.

I decided to go with an unconventional route for my mini-book title page. I loved the front cover of a tourism brochure I picked up in Taipei, so I simply cut it out to use as the start of my album. It's about 3.75x8.25", so it was the perfect size and worked well as a sort of divider.

I simply backed it with patterned paper (so that it would be less flimsy), added a little October Afternoon tabbed sticker, and punched holes on the side.
On the back side of the divider, I adhered a print-out of Taipei's metro map and created a pocket with patterned paper so I could insert some extra business cards I picked up during my trip.

I didn't want to jump right into my travel spreads yet with only a divider page as a title, so I created this 6x8 page. It was actually a paper bag from Anthropologie that I fell in love with and re-purposed here. I cut out the letters for 'TAIWAN' with my Silhouette Cameo and adhered a copper label and chipboard star underneath it to complete my page. The stamps I used are retired sets from Studio Calico (the date) and Kelly Purkey (the phrase).

On the left, I started my album with the reason for this trip. I always like jotting this down at the beginning of a travel mini to remember why and how an adventure began. I stamped the dates with some cute numbers from Kelly Purkey's Love List stamp. The washi tape and little tickets are all stationery I bought in Japan.

I documented our hotel on the left side, and the right side is a 6x8 page protector with a bunch of 2" pockets detailing our meet up with my relatives. I love using this configuration when I have a lot of photos and stories. It's also really fun to embellish!
I saved a business card from the hotel we stayed at, so I simply attached it to some patterned paper with a paper clip and added a big label with a tiny bit of embellishing. I collect all sorts of memorabilia on my trip, and I love sorting through them when I get home and deciding which bits and pieces to include in my album.

The back side of the 2" pocket page configuration holds more photos and notes. I used a journaling card from my Wander no.1 Cards to jot down some highlights about the night. And yes, another business card - this time, from the restaurant we ate at. We started our Taiwan trip off with an 8 course meal...nothing better than that!

The last event for our first day in Taiwan was a visit to the Shilin night market. The journaling cards I used here are both from past Studio Calico kits. It feels good to make a dent in my kit leftovers and use up these supplies since many are things that I love and have been waiting for the perfect project to use them on!

I'll be back with Day 2/Part II of my album soon. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Travel Tuesday no.26 // Maui

Travel Tuesday is back! I realized the other day that the most recent one I did was months ago, of my last trip in 2014 (Seattle), and I haven't shared any photos of my adventures this year yet. So I'm starting this series up again with a family trip I took to Hawaii back in March. If it seems like Hawaii overload on the blog at the moment, don't worry - I plan on sharing the first part of my Taiwan travel mini later this week so stay tuned for that.

This was my very first time going to Hawaii! We started our trip off in Maui and spent about four days here, just chilling and exploring the island. I haven't gone on a beach vacation in a while so it was a nice change of pace to take the days slow and keep things low-key. We also practiced a lot of patience since it is very different traveling with a three year old and a nine month old. There were a lot of activities and long drives we didn't do, choosing instead to stick to areas close to our resort and to enjoy the sunshine and the waters.
Napili Bay was one of my favorite places and we spent our first afternoon hanging out here at the beach. The water was absolutely pristine and it felt so nice to take a dip since the sun was shining directly overhead at one point, making the sand feel incredibly hot. We also ate at the Sea House restaurant by the beach which had really friendly service and great food.
We visited Lahaina twice, our first time being after our sailing trip to Lanai (I'll leave that one for a separate post). There were a lot of beautiful art galleries there, as well as local shops and various restaurants. The famous banyan tree was a fun place to take photos at! My nephew loved running around under the giant tree.
I had to try out Ululani's shave ice after hearing rave reviews. It was so delicious I had it twice during our stay in Maui :) I have to say it was my favorite shave ice that we ate - even compared to the ones we tried in Oahu.

One of our afternoons was spent at Maui Ocean Center, which was fairly small but had some pretty nice exhibits. We mainly went for the kids but it was a great experience for all of us. I loved seeing the baby sea turtles and the sharks.

We went to Lahaina a second time in the late afternoon on our way back to our resort and had dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise, which had a beautiful views of the ocean and pretty decent burgers. Yum. 
On our last day before going to the airport, we took a detour to Iao Valley. It was so scenic and the ever shifting fog made the area seem somewhat ethereal as we wandered and took in the beautiful views. We also stopped by the Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens where we learned a bit about Hawaii's various immigrants. My parents were particularly interested in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen area which had quite detailed information on his life in Hawaii. I thought that was pretty cool because my knowledge of Chinese history is very limited and I had no idea he even lived here. I'm glad we made a stop here before heading to catch our plane to Honolulu!

I have a few more Hawaii travel posts to write up, and then some more recent trips to share. Even though this trip happened months ago, I love looking back at these photos and reminiscing about our adventures. That's one of my favorite things about photography and memory keeping. Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with me. Happy Tuesday!