March 28, 2011

Interiors with lacquered walls have be fast filling the pages of our favourite magazines this year. After years of high gloss lacquer finishes on furniture and kitchen cabinets, it seems designers have taken it to the next level, enveloping a room in the slick finish.

As the finish is so striking, I think the best applications are partnered with a strong colour choice as well.

Typically, it's also used in maximalist spaces, combining all sorts of finishes, colours, and textures to give the interior a real sensory overload.

As much as I would love to do my dining room in this finish, it is a luxury finish, and does not lend itself to DIY work. Walls have to be hand plastered, possibly waxed, and then painted and sealed with several coats of glossy lacquer. It's the multiple applications that give it so much more depth than a standard gloss paint application.

March 26, 2011

After our epic drive around Maui, the rest of the week was spent getting some much needed R&R. Lots of snorkelling, sitting on the beach, and reading. One night we indulged in a Hawaiian Luau, the Feast at Lele. It is held right on the beach in Lahaina, and features a broader Polynesian menu and entertainment than the classic hula and flame dancers. Plus all you can drink.

We went all out and pulled our best Hawaiian outfits together. At the door you are greeted with a lei and a mai tai. Don't mind if I do.

The first of several cocktails; we tried every one on the menu. These were the blue hawaiians.

Here's the dancers doing there thing. Each course was inspired by a different region of Polynesia and had entertainment to accompany it. The food was mixed, some really good stuff, and others not so great. There was a really great fern salad, delicious fish cakes, and a shrimp and avocado dish that was really refreshing. The guidebook raved about the squash, but it was definitely not a highlight. Also, I made sure to try the poi everywhere we went, to try and figure out the rational behind why this stuff is even served. Every one tasted the same, disgusting. I do not understand how it is a staple of the hawaiian diet.

The evening ended with the ubiquitous fire dancer.

We rented a condo at the Valley Isle Resort for our trip. The view was fabulous from our corner unit, and we watched the whales from the comfort of our balcony every morning over breakfast. Sure, it was a little dated, but who's looking at the room when you have a view like this?

A shot of Makena Beach, one the many beaches we tried during our stay.

The Mai Tai Lounge in Lahaina were reputed to have the best Mai Tai's in Maui. They were the best ones we drank for sure.

Our last day on the island was simply stunning.

We took a walk around the Iao Valley State Park, which has a lot of historical significance to the island. In 1970 this was the location of the victory by King Kamenhameha, which united the Hawaiian Islands. The peak in the center is the Iao Needle, which has been formed over thousands of years of erosion.

We spent some time in Paia on the north shore of Maui, before heading to our early dinner reservation. This beach has great waves and is famous for kite boarding.

For dinner, we ate at Mama's Fish House, which is Maui institution. We drove up to the parking lot, where they have complementary valet parking. You are greeted by a hostess, and then walk down a winding path to a private beach and garden which the restaurant overlooks.

The view was fabulous. As was our dinner. They gave you those scented towels at the end of the meal, which I am so fond of.

Afterwards we spent some time in the garden, before making our way to the airport.

Aloha Maui.

I wanted to note that we purchased a guidebook called Maui Revealed for the trip, on a recommendation from friends. It has been written by Hawaiian residents and has lots of insider notes. It was especially good for the Road to Hana. The only weakness would be the dining guide. If you are a foodie, you might want to refer to another guide.

March 25, 2011

New Music: Tame Impala

A blend of modern psychedelia meets the british invasion. Really cool.

March 23, 2011

My husband and I are not the type of vacationers to just go and sit around and relax. In fact, our trips tends to be busier, and more jamb packed than our normal day to day. Originally, we were planning to go to Argentina. But our lives have gotten the best of us lately, and we just didn't have the time to plan a two week expedition through South America. But when we heard our friends had a condo booked in Maui for a week? That sounded like something we could handle.

My mom warned me before we left, to please take the time to relax and just enjoy ourselves. The last 6 months have been some of the craziest we've been through. Instead, we started the trip in our usual fashion.

We flew into Maui late, and spent that first night in an overpriced hostel close to the airport, with an exceptionally hard and squeaky mattress. It didn't take much to motivate us to get up for our 7:00 am wake up call to hit the road.

Our first two days on the island were spent driving through lush tropical rainforest on a windy narrow road, otherwise known as the Hana Highway. We had rented a convertible (yay!) as we heard that it helps with the car sickness on all the twists and turns. It also provides a full panoramic view of all the incredible flora and fauna.

There were lots of great places to stop, to see incredible waterfalls and the amazing lava formations along the rocky shoreline.

We think there must have been a lot of rain in the days prior as all the waterfalls were in full form.

Our big splurge was a night at the Hotel Hana Maui, which is an incredible spa resort on the east coast of Maui. Were were greeted with kukui nut necklaces, fresh pressed juice, and a refreshing scented towel. Who doesn't love those sweet scented towels?

This was our little bungalow.

After driving all day, we were keen to relax with some tropical bevvies, with little umbrellas, of course.

The next morning, we took an early morning yoga class overlooking the Pacific, followed by a dip in the pool. I wish every morning could start that way.

Then we continued along the highway, ending up at the Ohe'o Gulch, or the Seven Sacred Pools. While the pools are the most popular attraction along the road, we were much more interested in the hike up the mountain.

The hike starts with a trek through the tropical rainforest, following the valley and overlooking the water as it flows down the mountainside.

At one point in the trail, you emerge to find this most incredible Banyan Tree.

Halfway up, you cross a bridge, and are submerged into a richly dense bamboo forest. It seriously felt magical in there. The best part was when the wind blew, and bamboo would sway and knock together. It was absolutely enchanting.

And then at the top, there's this huge waterfall.

On the way out, we stopped to see the seven pools, which seemed to lose their sacredness when packed with tourists.

From this point on, the road changes as you move to the south side of the island. For about an hour you navigate an even narrower road against a rocky cliffside. At some points the road isn't even paved. A good opportunity to take it even slower and just enjoy the scenery. Eventually the road straightens out, and heads across the mountainside, where you can see the formations of the lava flows as they head towards the sea. Absolutely amazing. I swear my mouth was just hanging open for two hours in awe of it all.

If ever you go to Maui, I highly recommend the round trip. It should be on your life list.