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Our Maui Top Ten

It's kind of crazy to think we were in Maui for two and a half weeks.

Staying there so long gave us a lot of time to explore and have a good balance of lazy days and adventure days - everything we needed after an exceptionally busy year. 

When I think of our trip what I enjoyed most was driving in our Jeep with the roof off, staring at Derek in the water from over top of my surfboard, cooking with lots of butter and fresh ingredients in our apartment, and endless date nights.

It's really nice to spend that much time with someone and be like "Damn, I love this guy."

Here's a little video featuring some highlights...

 

If you're thinking of visiting Maui, here are our top ten...

O'o Farm

A friend of mine recommended we visit O'o Farm for their brunch or lunch farm tour. The farm is run by a small team who provide produce for their local restaurant (Pacific'O - where we also had a great meal), Feast at Lele and Aina Gourmet Market. They have Hawaii coffee and fruit trees, rows of lettuce and garden vegetables, tomatoes, herbs and flowers. They even roast their coffee on site!

We loved the laid back tour where we got to eat fresh berries from the coffee plant, persimmons (our favorite), carrots tugged freshly from the soil and more. We all worked together to pick the ingredients for our salad, the first course of an exquisite four course feast prepared by Chef Daniel Eskelsen finished with their own coffee (and amazing chocolate). It was our best meal on the island and a very reasonable $58.

Surfing

We rented surfboards for a week from A&B Surfboard and Snorkel Rentals for a true Maui experience. The guy there was super friendly and gave us great advice on where NOT to surf (there's a wave called the Hope Crusher...enough said.) They apparently some of the best prices on the island.

Snorkeling

Our big Maui splurge was a snorkel adventure to Molokini on Maui Magic Snorkel. For $110 we were well taken care of by a fun youthful team. We got to see several whales, snorkeled up close with sea turtles, had a burger bbq lunch on deck, snacks and wine. Even though we went on the coldest day possible, it was a blast.

Mama's Fish House

Our splurge honeymoon meal was lunch at Mama's Fish House. We sat right by the window with a beautiful view of the ocean, had two fish entrees, and shared my first Blue Hawaiian cocktail. The menu was a little pricier than we are used to, and the food was good, but the real value came in setting itself.

Poke from the Liquor Store

I have a secret to share with you. Some of the best poke on the island can be found hidden away in Tamuras Fine Wine and Liquor. They have a huge variety, reasonable prices, and it is fresh as can be. It's also near the Grocery Depot which quickly became my favorite grocery store for having far better produce and selection than any other shop we went to.

The Road to Hana (and Beyond)

Many people will warn you about the Road to Hana. It is one hell of a drive. If Derek wasn't driving, we wouldn't have survived. But if you have an adventurous spirit and a skilled driver... DO IT. This 64.4 mile stretch of a twisting road is stunning. It is rich, green, tropical, waterfall laden, and lined with little fruit stands as you go. Once you make to Hana there are great food trucks (Bruddah Hutts BBQ ftw) and an epic red sand beach.

The highlight for us however happened after Hana. We kept driving along the coastline where there were few other cars and it was absolutely breathtaking. We snuck in a few little off-road adventures too!

Side note: I highly recommend renting a Jeep or some kind of off-road vehicle. If you want to explore some of the roads are a little tricky. 

Paia

The night we finished the Road to Hana we also stopped in Paia. It's a very cute little bohemian town with a great restaurant called Cade des Amis with a Mediterranean and Indian menu. We had big bowls of curry and house made chutney while listening to a musician play outside and enjoyed the super chill vibe.

Waterfall Hike

There are several waterfall hikes in Maui. I believe the one we found was this one through the "Bamboo Forest". This hike is an ADVENTURE. You enter the bamboo forest through one of the random openings off of the road to hidden waterfalls, rope swings, rock climbing and pools of water in the rocks. I recommend going in your bathing suit and surf shoes and you're likely to get wet and muddy (I had my phone in a ziplock bag for photos!)

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Olivine Pools

On Christmas day we went to explore the Olivine pools. A small trek down from the main road are several tide pools beside the ocean located on barren lava. Some become surprisingly deep and are heavenly to swim in. *Avoid swimming if the waves are crashing into them

Mai Tais at the Ritz

The Banyan Tree restaurant at the Ritz serves the best Barrel-Aged Mai Tai on the island made with Zaya 12 Year Reserva Rum.

Cheers!

Gillian Young
HAWAII HONEYMOON: exhales and the emergency room

We needed this trip.

Before we left Derek was drowning in exams while I was drowning in the California rain and my own tears. 

My grandmother had been slipping away from us and I wanted nothing more than to be with her and my family.

It was good timing for a two week honeymoon in Maui. My bikini was ready with bells on.

We arrived a week ago, picked up a rental Jeep at the airport, filled it with food from Costco, and made our way to our sweet little abode on the water. We took it easy our first night, went out for fancy Mai Tais at the Ritz, then cuddled up with dinner and a movie.

The next day I booked us some couples massages to help us relax into the trip. 

On our way into town, we stopped at a little health cafe where I ordered an acai bowl topped with lilikoi, bee pollen, and paleo granola.

I took about ten pictures of my beautiful bowl then smiled and swooned the whole way through while feeling virtuous and pretending that I was an island girl, stopping for my post surf snack. Soon I would be tanned and surfing and eating these every day, right? Hang loose baby.

As we left the cafe I casually mentioned to Derek, "I feel like my mouth is swelling a little...it's probably not a big deal but keep checking on me, ok?"

We decided it must be the bee pollen. I wasn't too worried.

By the time we arrived in town a small rash was starting to spread over my body. 

Derek asked me to sit on a bench while he ran to find some Benadryl. As soon as he left my whole stomach was starting to swell and I felt nauseous and emotional. I lay down on the bench and could hear tourists around me laughing. The sun felt heavy. 

By the time Derek returned I had tears rolling out of my eyes under my sunglasses. We popped back into the store together where I took two Benadryl and I sat on the floor in pain.

"I think I need a bathroom."

I felt like I either needed to throw up or go to the bathroom but I couldn't tell. The rash was spreading all over my body like a hot itch and it was becoming harder to breath. 

When we got closer to the bathroom in the park I lay down outside on the hot pavement  in pain. Sharp pains were starting to cut through my lower abdomen.

As the Benadryl kicked in I was starting to breath more normally, but my speech was getting groggier and the pain was intense.

I made Derek come into the bathroom for me where I threw up a little and then lay flat on the floor wriggling, barely able to speak.

I have never known pain like this before.

Strangers watched over me while Derek called the ambulance.

The paramedics arrived and strapped me into a gurney and rolled me into the ambulance.

They hooked me up to a water IV and gave me some anti nausea medication to take the edge off. It was a long 30 minutes to the hospital. The paramedic kept asking me questions, and spelling out my name felt like the most challenging thing in the world. I took a deep breath "G"...sharp pain, body swelling, throat tight, "I"...

We got there.

I have never wanted drugs so badly.

By the time we arrived at the hospital I was shaking and shivering violently while still squirming. When I could talk I just looked at Derek and said "I just want this to stop."

I kept thinking of my grandmother. She'd been in the hospital with a lot of pain and had just started morphine. 

A sweet nurse hooked me up to an IV with a drug stronger than morphine, steroids, and some other concoction to bring down the inflammation. I joked that the steroids would make me buff, and he said "No, not that kind." Somewhere he mentioned he liked spear fishing and I remember thinking he had a gentle smile.

I fell in and out of sleep for what might have been an hour or two while a doctor took blood samples and I told Derek a story about siamese twins making sushi.

Eventually the nurse gave me a shot of potassium and the doctor returned to tell me that my white blood cell count was really high in my stomach (I kept asking what a "Y" blood cell was). He said he was a little concerned and if the pain continued I should return. 

We got a prescription, signed a hefty hospital bill (welcome to America) and made our way home.

I had ice cream for dinner and we watched a movie. I felt incredibly at peace and grateful. When you think of all the reasons people are in a hospital, and for how long, I was getting away lucky. On top of that I was alive and no longer in pain.

The next day we went back into town and made new memories.

When we got home my mom called in tears... my grandmother had died.

I couldn't help but feel I had felt her going in the hospital. I don't know. But it gave me some calm. Some way of feeling connected to her.

And so was the start to our honeymoon.

We are enjoying our time together. Taking mini adventures. Soaking in the quiet. Spending hours reading. Splurging on fancy wine. Counting blessings.

I stopped my prescription from the steroids and am feeling tired and swollen, but it makes it easier to slow down, to breathe and grieve. Overall I am just very grateful and very much in love with this man who is taking excellent care of me.

It's been quite the year hasn't it?

Life is a big wild ocean and the waves sure do make it scary but also so damn beautiful.

RIP Kay Wetherall, Dec 26 1928-Dec 23, 2016

Gillian YoungComment
2016: A Year of Big Change

What a year.

An engagement.

A trip to Hawaii.

Moving to California.

Facing a lifelong fear and learning how to drive.

My foray into bodybuilding with my first bikini competition and trophy.

Establishing myself somewhere new.

Getting married.

Adding a name to mine.

Turning 30.

Trump... fear of what is to come.

Our first love nest.

And now we will finish the year in Hawaii, together, for our honeymoon.

This year has tested my limits, shown me what I'm capable of, and has shown me that hard work is worth it.

I have faced so many fears and have been rewarded for all of them.

At the end of the day, I am so proud of my accomplishments and so grateful to be here. Our honeymoon and a little love and tenderness could not come at a better time.

2017, I will be ready for you. I still have so much to do.

Gillian Young