May 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
It might be safe to say that I looked forward to eating in Hawaii more than I dreamed about the beach, crystal clear water and cocktails. I am an avid seafood lover, and the thought of eating fresh out of the ocean catches for a week straight pretty much thrilled me. I asked around for suggestions, scoured the internet for guides, and read lots of reviews, in hopes of finding the best of the best in Maui and Kauai. Below were some of our favorites.
If you’re looking to grab a cup of local Jo, go to Island Press Coffee in Lahaina. Decked out in vintage Hawaiian tchotchke, this little coffee shop might look plain-Jane from the outside, but is fantastic within. Doubling as a liquor store, stop in for local fresh brewed coffee and a slice of coconut cake for breakfast. And grab a bottle of wine for later, too.
Packing a picnic for a trip to Upcountry? You must stop at Leoda’s. We loved it so much we went twice, and would have gone again if we had not run out of time. Top Chef fans: Leoda’s (along with Star Noodle, see pork buns above right) is the product of finalist Sheldon, and we ate some of the best food we’ve had anywhere lately there (see brussel sprout salad below). This spicy tuna sandwich below was the perfect companion to our lunch at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. And the butter white bread – do not even get me started.
Cooking dinner at your condo, or seeking fresh, affordable produce? Stop at any farm stand on the windy road to Upcountry. Pick your own strawberries, buy an avocado as big as your head, support local farmers.
Speaking of Sheldon and Top Chef, if you have time, visit Star Noodle for the pork buns alone. Expect to wait – awhile – if you go at lunchtime. You’ll be surrounded by foodie groupies taking snap shots of their dishes, with a smattering of locals sprinkled in (one kind man leaned in at our family-style table and made suggestions of his favorites). Travis raved over the pad thai.
For delicious seafood and a killer view, dine at Merriman’s. Save this for a special night, as it’s pricey, but go right before sunset, order a tropical cocktail, and sit back and watch the sun set on paradise. (Don’t make our mistake and go at 8 pm – oops).
For a touristy/fun/entertaining night, the buzz on the island is that the Old Lahaina Luau is the best. Luckily, we made reservations 3 months prior. And, seriously, you’ll need to do that. This puppy sells out. The food doesn’t dazzle, but the atmosphere and show is super fun.
Ah, Kauai. We ate well on this island.
Kauai has countless food stands, food trucks, and small family-owned restaurants along its highways. Stop at one of them. Get a fresh smoothie, crack open a coconut, or dine on al pastor tacos. What I loved about Kauai is its rural landscape, which made it feel much less touristy and significantly more authentic.
For a quick bite that’s pretty reasonable on the wallet, visit Tropical Taco in Hanalei (my favorite town on the whole trip). For $13 you can get a fresh grilled fish taco as big as your head packed with fixin’s and a side of chips and salsa (see far above).
Dare I say – the best fish dish I had was at Postcards Cafe, an all vegetarian/seafood establishment that I found incredibly charming. I’m still thinking about the Mahi Mahi I had there. Oh, wait, then there was dessert: a coconut-crusted macadamia ice cream scoop with salted caramel sauce. We practically licked the plate.
For more special evenings, visit Bar Acuda and Kauai Grill at the St. Regis. As for atmosphere, Bar Acuda doesn’t have much to offer – no spectacular view with a small outdoor porch. But the restaurant that has been hailed as the best in Hawaii is pretty darn great. For a romantic evening, dine at Kauai Grill because the view is one of the best we experienced on our trip.
Whatever you do, be sure to experience local culture and cuisine, sample fresh mahi mahi, and never, ever pass up a piña colada.
May 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
There is something so motivating about a genuinely refreshing, relaxing and beautiful vacation. Travis and I got back from Hawaii yesterday morning – with both a sense of deep sadness (that it was over) and a renewed sense of determination, inspiration, and motivation (oh, and total excitement to see our dogs). Our time in Hawaii was truly wonderful – dare I say near perfect (except for 3 straight days of rain). Here, I want to share with you some highlights and recommendations for those of you that travel to the land of Aloha.
We arrived very late on the first evening, so we set out early our first full day into the Upcountry area, our first stop being Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, which was a top highlight for me of the entire trip. Hard to beat since it was our first excursion!
There are three things that I really love: succulents, lavender (bathing in it, cooking with it, plain ol’ smelling it), and Protea. Nearly two decades ago I visited Hawaii and a trek to a Protea Farm stood out vividly in my memory. It was a wish for me to visit another, and AKL Lavender just happened to have the most beautiful gardens full of Protea, succulents, lavender, pineapple, and more. It was a plant lover’s Utopia.
For only $6, we were allowed entry into the gardens, but unfortunately all of the tours were sold out for the day. I would recommend snagging a spot in one of these tours, because tour guides cut the most stunning bouquets straight from the garden for you to take home. (See above, right, a lucky couple got to take this bounty home)! But this left us free to roam the grounds, take our time, and take in the view. (Below, we picnicked at this exact spot on a Leoda’s lunch – more on that later). Now back to the plants.
I had a fantastic conversation with the founder’s son about propagating succulents, and he let me take a few leaves and buds home so I could [hopefully] propagate my own Hawaiian succulents.
Travis above on aptly named Lover’s Lane in the gardens. (Cheesy, I know). If you’re heading to Maui, definitely make a stop at AKL Lavender – it’s so worth it. Pack a picnic, take your time on the beautiful drive, and don’t forget to smell the lavender!
May 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
Travis and I are leaving for vacation tomorrow. Hawaii. Words cannot express my excitement. But, as a small business owner, I find it so hard to prepare for a long time away. Do any of y’all feel that way, too?
I’ll be back May 18, hopefully with a tan (as much as I can muster), and ready to get back at it. Don’t forget, calligraphy classes are open in May, June, and July!
Until then, here’s to umbrellas in my cocktails and sand in my toes! Aloha!
May 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
A recent little project I did for an escort card display. I thought the sentiment was so cute.
Just a note that there are still a couple of spots left in my May 22 class, June classes – and recently added July class. (This July class is a Saturday)! Find more information here about classes!
April 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
April 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
In its simplest form, the landscape in West Texas could not be more beautiful. I’ve fallen in love with it over the past couple of years as I’ve spent more time at my husband’s family’s ranch and in Marfa. Heather Rowland, a photographer recently transplanted from out West is now in Fort Worth and asked me to participate in a styled shoot dedicated to the landscape. I think the images are just beautiful. With help from Lindsey Zamora, who styled the shoot, this team of talent did an amazing job. I helped out with the calligraphy you see below.
March 20, 2013 § 2 Comments
February 23 marked the wedding of my close friend Lauren to her fella Clint. It was a grand time, full of color, delicious food, and dancing. I’ve been working on Lauren’s wedding for a while, starting with her save the dates, invitations, and then her event design and flowers. It was so fun to work with color! Below are some images from my pal Anna, as well as the official event photographs by Daniel Davis.
Papel picado and little flags by Ay Mujer
Cake balls and cake by Sugar Bee Sweets
Pies and cupcakes by Stir Crazy Baked Goods