Hola Friends!

How have you been? Are you enjoying Spring in your corner of the world or are you still covered in mounds of snow? And how about those new year’s resolutions – are they just memories at this point?

Obviously, a lot has happened since we last spoke! And I say that calls for a lately post! :)

Kaena Point Seal

Last time I wrote I was mere hours away from hoping on a plane again and heading to the sunny shores of Oahu. I was excited, and was hoping that we’d have a great time but I truly wasn’t prepared for how very much we would love this particular corner of Hawaii!!!

I will spend several entries with a proper recap of our time on the island but suffice it to say that I loved how much there was to do on Oahu! Which doesn’t mean we stayed in Honolulu or anywhere particularly touristy for that matter – we actually stayed in a very quiet and secluded vacation rental on the North Shore! And it was bliss!!! <3

From our home base near Sunset Beach we explored literally every corner of Oahu!! It was magical to discover beaches far away from the beaten path, monk seals lounging in the sun, delicious tropical eats, glorious vistas, and hikes that led to incredible viewpoints!!

Makapuu Point

It was actually during those hikes that I discovered that I am in so much better shape today than I was during my previous vacations! You see, on multiple occasions the Husband and I headed out on Oahu trails that were estimated to last hours – only to find that we absolutely smoked the predicted times to complete the hikes. This despite the fact that our Canadian-selfs were hiking in the full Hawaiian sun!!!! Realizing that all my early morning workouts at GoodLife Fitness were paying off was definitely one of the most memorable moments of the trip!!! :)  


As we were preparing to head back from Hawaii, I was admittedly fearful that we would be leaving tropical delights only to return to cold and grey Vancouver. But I need not have worried!!! :) In fact, for about a month now we have been having absolutely amazing weather. We’ve jumped headlong into Spring and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!! There’s just something about the lack of rain and darkness that brightens my days and lifts my spirits!! :)

Puppy in the wind

Of course, how could I do a catch-up post without telling you how happy we were to return home to our little fur baby! I missed Daisy something fierce while we were in Hawaii – everywhere we went we couldn’t help but note how much Daisy would love Oahu! Because seriously, my dog is all about digging in the sand and rolling on the beach at low-tide! Hawaii would be just her speed!! ;)

Centennial Beach Tsawwassen

Now that we’ve been back for a couple of weeks I’ve begun turning my mind to my next challenges and adventures – which is how I came about organizing another DietBet! We started March 4th and have 28 days to lose 4% of our individual body weight! I did another DietBet in the lead up to Hawaii and it was instrumental in getting me to vacation ready shape. As for this DietBet, I hope it’s a great jump-start for the summer version of me! :)

Disclaimer: This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own.

Question: What exciting plans do you have for this month? Do you like to plan ahead and set goals into the future? Is that something that gives you something to look forward to?


Maui – Hurricane Iselle visits Kaanapali

by torontogirlwest on February 8, 2015

Hola Friends!

We’ve finally come to the last post in my Maui series!

If you’re just catching up, here’s what you’ve missed:


Maui – A Hawaiian Newbie in Kaanapali

Maui – The Eats

Maui – The Feast at Lele

Maui – The Road to Hana


So how about we get on with the show?!? ;) I do after all, have to finish packing for my trip this afternoon to Oahu!!! See, there’s a reason I’ve been trying to knock these entries out the last couple of weeks! :)

That Time We Took a Vacation and a Hurricane Came to Visit

When we first left Vancouver I was aware that there were some storms in the Pacific but no mention of a hurricane at that time. When we flew out of Seattle (after spending a night at an airport hotel), I knew that the storms were getting much worse. But it was only once we got to Hawaii that Hurricane Iselle, followed by Hurricane Julio developed.

One of my most vivid memories of our first trip to Maui will always be listening to the news and hearing that Iselle was a Category 4!!!! Now, I had never been through a hurricane but I had watched “Twister” in the 90s and I knew that a 4 was bad!!! Like really bad!!! That was probably about the point at which the Husband turned to me and said, “Did you know that it would be like this!?!?!?” Ahahahaha! Granted, I knew it was hurricane season when I booked the trip but I also knew that hurricanes never hit Hawaii. Or so I was told.

As our time in Maui wore on, I tried to push thoughts of being a sitting duck in the middle of the Pacific out of my head, and instead concentrated on praying that Iselle would change direction or break up.

The day before the hurricane it became obvious that Iselle wasn’t going to change direction and was instead projected to pass directly over the Hawaiian Islands, starting with the Big Island before making it’s way to Maui. Mind you even before that was a certainty you started to hear mumblings around Kaanapali of people changing their flights so that they could fly out before either of the hurricanes hit. 

We were scheduled to be there for Iselle but leave before Julio – and we decided we weren’t going anywhere. So the morning of the hurricane we woke up and headed out amidst the increasing wind to have breakfast nearby.

couple day of a hurricane

Originally our plan had been to go up to Haleakala to watch the sunrise that day but we passed on that given the newly issued flash flood warnings and unpredictability of the weather. I didn’t want us to be all exposed on top of Maui’s highest point if things went wrong. So instead we decided to rack up a boat load of Starwood Points by going to a timeshare presentation. We timed it so we would be doing that once the rain really started because really what else was there to do! ;)  

But before that point we decided to head to the pool and enjoy the last remaining rays of sun.

Kaanapali strong winds

See the palm trees? The normally pleasant trade winds had kicked up and were becoming stronger by the minute. But we persisted in our luxuriating in the sun! HA!

Our hotel, the Westin Maui, was excellent I should add! Every couple of hours they would send letters to our room updating procedures and forecasts. And they would also update the electronic boards around the lobby. They even moved our lanai furniture inside before I had a chance do so as planned! I can honestly say I trusted that they had matters under control and was impressed by their preparations before hand, their calm amidst the chaos of the storm, and how quickly everything returned to normal after everything had passed!

As for our preparations . . . 

Hurricane Preparations

We somehow decided we were going to make it through Iselle with four large bottles of waters, two very filling Pro Bars, and un-pictured box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, and one orange! Ahahahah – I laugh every time I look at this picture! :P

Originally the hurricane had been expected to hit Maui in the early afternoon but we soon found out (through obsessive checking of Twitter and the Hawaii Aloha Travel Facebook Page) that Iselle had stalled over the Big Island and had consequently slowed it’s movement. Since we were hungry and it was still okay to go outside we headed down to the only restaurant open on the premises and placed an order. Then we found a dry place to wait the hour it took them to cook our food. By the way, God bless the people who worked that night! They were standing out in the rain, taking orders from guests who didn’t always exhibit the greatest amount of patience, in increasingly stressful and stormy conditions.

Kaanapali Storm

This is what it looked like at that point of the night. You can’t tell but it was pouring quite a bit.

Hurricane Food

And this was our hurricane dinner. I could tell you that it was a particularly bland $22 burger. But instead, I’ll tell you that I got through the evening of an impending hurricane by eating a giant Kobe beef burger. And that my friends, is nothing to complain about.

After dinner we went back to our room and hunkered down. There was nothing to do but wait at that point. The winds and rain were no joke and there was no sense going anywhere but our room.

For a bit, I tried listening to the news but the Husband convinced me that it would just stress me out unnecessarily. Since the hurricane had stalled over the Big Island for so long, it was going to hit Maui in the overnight hours. I went to sleep praying (there was a lot of praying) that we would make it through the night okay.

At one point, I woke up to discover that Iselle had just been downgraded from a hurricane and was instead a very strong tropical storm (think 70mph winds). I went back to sleep after more praying.

The last time I woke up that night it was right in the middle of the worst of it. I couldn’t help my curiosity and walked over to our balcony. Outside I could see objects flying by in the gusts of wind; I didn’t know what they were but I prayed that they were birds, and that nothing would come crashing through our window. I could also hear the same gusts of wind hitting our sliding glass patio door with incredible force. 

After one last prayer, I went back to sleep.

Kaanapali After Storm Sunrise

Many hours later we awoke to calm winds, not even a drizzle, and THE most dramatic sunrise we saw during our entire time in Maui! <3

Husband eating hurricane supplies

We had made it through the night, and the Husband wasted no time gobbling up the hurricane supplies! HA! :D


The Day After the Hurricane

As we got ready that morning we flipped on the morning news. They were warning everyone not to get out on the roads as there was some damage that needed to be cleaned up. 

So at first we listened to them and wandered around Kaanapali with the tourists that had been brave enough to stay for Iselle, and weren’t yet on their way to the airport before Julio hit.

Westin Maui Wood Carving

Westin Maui

Lush Kaanapali

Curiously, the storm passing seemed to bring and end to the trade winds that kept Maui comfortable earlier during our trip. Instead, we were left with very humid weather and occasional drizzles. But since it sure beat the storm of the night before, no one seemed to mind! :)

After wandering around Kaanapali we decided to disobey the local officials and drive out to explore Lahaina. Besides eating poke, and the best spam musubi anywhere we also wandered around the empty historical centre of the town. It was quite something to see the remnants of the hurricane preparations, intermingled amidst the beautiful old buildings.

Lahaina Asian Building

Lahaina Giant Tree

Iselle Warning

Lahaina Giant Tree

Windows Taped Hurricane Maui

Lahaina Temple

There’s something to be said for having a normally very busy tourist spot all to yourself! :P


Final Thoughts on Maui

Last Kaanapali Sunrise

After all the commotion of Iselle was over we didn’t have much time left on Maui. Just enough to enjoy one final glorious sunrise, eat some delicious Hula pie, lay by the pool one last day, hold a tropical parrot, eat some more Maui chips, and pack our bags to head home.

Girl and a White Parrot Westin Maui

In the end, am I happy we went to Maui? Yes!!! Hurricane scare and all!!! It was a beautiful place, and I honestly felt more relaxed than I had in forever!

Would I recommend it to other travellers? Yes!!! But here’s the catch, if you’re usually a world traveller or someone that likes to be a bit of an adventurer expect a much more “safe,” and comfortable destination. You won’t feel the thrill of negotiating a different language or (for the most part) culture but you also won’t have to worry about your personal safety or cleanliness standards! That is in my opinion, what makes Maui an ideal family destination!

I Survived Hurricane Iselle and Julio T Shirt

Would I do anything differently on a return trip to Maui? You bet! I would probably split my time between an area closer to Kaanapali and Hana! Also, I would probably consider renting a place that had access to a kitchen so I could at least have a place to slice up some of the glorious Maui Gold pineapples, or make myself some eggs in the morning. And lastly, I would hit up Haleakala to watch the sunrise as that is the one thing we didn’t get to do this time around.

And lastly, would I return to Hawaii? Absolutely! ;) I’ll get right on that!

Question: Have you ever been on vacation and ended up being hit by an unexpected weather event? Have you ever been through a hurricane? 


Virtual Coffee Date V

February 3, 2015
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How about we take a break from all the Hawaii posts and catch-up!?! It’s been a while! Pull up a chair and sit a spell! Here, I’ll order us coffee . . . (source) If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I can’t believe that the year is 1/12th over already! […]

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Maui: The Road to Hana

February 2, 2015
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Hello Amigos! The Road to Hana . . . there’s no way you can go about planning a trip to Maui without hearing those fabled words. Opinions on the Road to Hana, however, are all over the map. I heard everything from “You must go!” to “Don’t go – it’s overrated!” to “You can try […]

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Maui: The Feast at Lele

January 18, 2015
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Hello Friends: Usually when we take a trip we try to incorporate one splurge into our planning – for our first trip to Hawaii I was pretty sure what that splurge was going to be! I don’t know about you but pretty high on my list of things I really wanted to do on my […]

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Maui: The Eats

January 13, 2015
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Hola Friends! So first of all, I have to thank-you for hanging around and reading this blog despite the fact that it took me forever to get to this recap! You all know I love to travel and love to share my adventures with all of you. I’m particularly happy to share my Maui recaps […]

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Maui: A Hawaiian Newbie in Kaanapali

January 6, 2015
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Hola Friends: So I think it’s high time that I tell you the tale of our trip in August of 2014 to Maui! It was frankly a totally relaxing trip although  it was almost more adventure than we bargained for!   Aloha Maui – First Impressions Growing up in Toronto I didn’t know many people […]

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Note to Self – Be Awesome

January 3, 2015
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Hello Friends: So where did we leave off again!?! Oh right . . . it’s a new year and I need to come up with some resolutions! Especially since all the cool kids are doing it! Well here’s the deal, resolutions for me imply something without a concrete plan involved. And it’s that lack of […]

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2014 by the Numbers

December 31, 2014
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Hello Everyone: Let me begin by saying, Happy New Years to all my family, and friends in the Eastern Time Zone!!! May this year be prosperous, and filled with blessings, and joy! 2014 has been a year full of highs and lows but mostly it’s been great! And so I thought I would share with […]

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There’s a Party Going on Right Here!

December 29, 2014
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Hola Friends! Can I begin by telling you how very excited I am to have finally gotten to this part of the year?!? I’ve been looking forward to it forever. Not only because it’s the Holidays but also because it represents the end of a very busy season in my life, and that of course […]

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