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Travel

Happily Maui’ed

The family and I went on an impromptu vacation to Maui, HI to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary. Traveling with our children steered us in the direction of staying at a beach resort to have the comforts of a hotel with all of the amenities, such as an awesome pool area with slides, lots of food options, and a kids club. We found all of this at The Westin Resort and Spa Ka’anapali .  The beach at Ka’anapali in west Maui is one of the best on the island.  We had no plans other than to enjoy the resort every day.

The last time we were in Maui I was six months pregnant with Ume.  It was nice to be back with Ume again but as a six year old.  The kids had a blast at the resort from seeing all the flamingos, koi fish, and parrots in the lobby pond to enjoying the pools every day.  The weather held up although two hurricanes were headed our direction.  We basked in mid to high 80’s weather every day.  We enjoyed malasadas (fried donuts), lava flows, Hawaiian plate lunches, and the freshest mahi mahi fish.  It was an ideal vacation!

We drove once into Paia which is on the northern coast and about an hour a way.  Paia is a self appointed “hippie” town with the coolest boutiques to find unique souvenirs.  Other than the one road trip we just stayed local in the neighboring town Lahaina and around Ka’anapali.  We enjoyed running into random people from Seattle and got to share our anniversary meal with friends celebrating their anniversary on the same day.

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It was great to spend a concentrated time with my family.  Nothing beats seeing the joy on your kids faces from being in paradise.  Hawaii is so magical and forces you to enjoy life.  It was a much needed vacation for all of us.

XO,

Mina

 

 

 

 

 

Travel

Glass houses

Seattle is a special city, a city that I love and can not imagine living anywhere else.  There are many amazing places to explore if you love nature, art, and great culture.  We are not just hipsters, coffee lovers, or tech geeks.  There are many beautiful experiences you can have in Seattle for any type of taste.

We had family in town from Ohio and because grandma is an artist and art aficionado visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass was on our must see list. Dale Chihuly is a pioneer in the art of glass and us Washingtonians are lucky to claim him as our own.  The Chihuly Garden and Glass is located next to the Space Needle in the Seattle Center so it was a perfect place to visit and sightsee.

It has been open since 2012 but I have not visited it before today.  It’s just one of those things that happen or don’t happen unless you have out of town guests, being a tourist in your own city.  It was very breathtaking to see the beauty of all the blown glass, unfortunately Violet was so mesmerized that she wanted to climb into the art installations and touch all the glass.  Brian and I zipped through the exhibit to save the ears of all the other guests.

For the most part we were able to enjoy and appreciate the amazing glass and the family got to spend quality time together.  If you live in Seattle and have not gone yet, I would highly recommend it.  You can really make a whole day out of it and enjoy the other wonders of the Seattle Center.

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XO,

Mina

 

 

 

 

 

Travel

Summer holiday

Every July 4th – America’s Independence Day we spend the holiday on Vashon Island.  It has been a wonderful tradition to spend the day eating awesome bbq, watching the kids run around on the beach then later light fireworks, and have quality time with amazing people.  This day was no different.

We are lucky that Vashon Island is only a 20 minute ferry ride from us.  The island has charming shops, wineries, delicious restaurants, and impressive farm stands.  It feels like a real getaway even though the travel time is less than going to downtown Seattle.

It was predicted that there would be rain on this day but luckily it only rained a little so we were able to enjoy the beach and not be stuck indoor with all of our guests.  Once it started to get dark the firework show began.  Uemera is not fond of fireworks because they make loud noises and Violet was not that impressed either.  We still got to enjoy the visuals from inside the house because we have clear bay windows that gave us great view of the action outdoors.

It was a fun day for the adults, kids, and dogs; no injuries occurred and no party fouls.  My stomach was full with burrata, pinenuts, and truffle oil, which is my new favorite snack!  We are lucky to have such a magical place to spend this patriotic holiday, to celebrate everything American.  Cheers to the red, white, and blue!

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XO,

Mina

Travel

Roughing it or glamping?

This past weekend the family and I went to Deception Pass State Park to join our close friends on a camping adventure.  I personally have not camped since I was a child when my mom and dad would take my sister and I on annual fishing/camping trips with their close friends.  The idea of roughing it in the woods does not sound too appealing to me but after visiting our friends’ camp sites during previous years I was confident that I would be more “glamping” than roughing it.  Plus my camping memories as a child are some of the fondest memories I have growing up and I want to give that to my kids.

Our friends made it to the camp site on Friday and we joined them on Saturday because Brian had an event he was producing on Friday.  Deception Pass State Park is about a 2 hour drive from Seattle and a coveted destination area.  The view is quite remarkable with beautiful lakes, mountains, and islands; and the campsite has amazing old-growth forests, simple hiking trails with close proximity to sandy beaches.

Thanks to our friends the campsite was already set up with all the amenities to have a comfortable stay. Ume quickly joined her buddies on her scooter riding around the campsite.  She is at the age where she can follow directions and has good safety awareness, so we can trust her to scooter around with the older kids. Poor Violet had serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and needed to be entertained by us adults.  We had a fun time playing at the beach followed by a lovely bbq dinner, S’mores, and lots of wine and whiskey.

It was a great time to enjoy nature, for the kids to disconnect from the TV/iPad, and for us adults to enjoy each others company in a different environment.  We spent time at the beach, got dirty, and the kids played hard outdoors.  Our sleep was not the greatest because we were outside in the elements with the birds chirping as our alarm clock but we did have the comforts of an inflatable mattress.  With all the terrible sadness and drama going on in the world, it was a good time to get away and create happy memories.

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XO,

Mina

 

Music Travel

Coachella 2016 weekend 1

Okay here it is, my Coachella recap.  This is my 5th festival year shared with my best bud Abby and we have our routine down.  The festival is two consecutive weekends long and I usually attend weekend 1 so I can experience all the surprise guest appearances firsthand.  Flying in on Thursday allows me to settle in and really be in vacation mode.  First things first, Abby and I had to enjoy In-N-Out burgers and fries since we unfortunately do not have one in Washington.  Then we head to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, CA, which is 20 minutes away from Palm Springs.  It houses 180 stores and nothing beats designer boutiques at 30-40% off.  We were thinking of attending The 143 X Do Over party at Ace Hotel but our hotel room and room service sounded more appealing to get us prepared for the next festival day.

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Friday starts like this.  Leisurely wake up, go to the best and I mean THE BEST frozen yogurt shop, Tutti Fruttithen get ready for Day 1.  The shuttle situation was not ideal because there was a super long line at our hotel for the 40 minute ride to the festival.  We got to enjoy DJ Mustard who brought out special guest YGFoalsThe Kills; St. Germain; Lido with special guest Jaden Smith; G-Eazy; Jack U with special guests AlunaGeorgeKieszaPost Malone, and Kanye West; and finishing the night with LCD Soundsystem.  We also got to check out the Heineken House which has a separate list of entertainers sponsored by Heineken on the festival grounds.  It is an air conditioned enclosed tent and the lineup was perfect for the base heads.  We bounced to the sounds of Crizzly and DOCTOR P.  We missed a lot of other great artists but we still saw a lot.

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Saturday we woke up and grabbed lunch at LuLu California Bistro.  We were sat next to this fabulous table of men in sequins and see-through lace and next to some sweet elderly women drinking mimosas.  Yup we are in Palm Springs.  We grabbed Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt again then went back to the hotel to get ready for a pool party.  I met up with our friends Sandra and Natalie and then we went to the Hilton Day Club to enjoy Sam Feldt and Dirty South.

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We finally made it to the festival and grooved to the music from Disclosure who wins for the most special guests – Lorde, AlunaGeorge, Sam Smith, Kwabs, Brendan Reilly, and Lion Babe.  We also checked out Ice Cube with special guest Snoop Dogg; Zedd with special guests Aloe Blacc and Kesha; Guns N’ Roses with special guest AC/DC; and ending the night with Grimes with special guest Janelle Monae.  We attempted to go to an exclusive after party at the Merv Griffin Ranch Estate with Atrak but could not get an uber or a taxi to take us.  After party fail!

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Sunday we went to the gorgeous Parker hotel for massages and brunch.  It is a tradition for Abby and I, and after dancing and walking miles it was much needed body work.  We then got ready for our last festival day. We checked out the Basque Country sound of Crystal FightersMajor Lazer with special guests Sean Paul, DJ Snake and Mo; SIA with special guests Maddie Ziegler, Paul Dano, Kristen Wiig, and Gabby Hoffman; then ended the night with Calvin Harris with special guests Big Sean and Rihanna with full on fire works to close an epic weekend.

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TIPS:

Get VIP if you can.  You get access to two huge VIP areas next to the Sahara Tent and Coachella Main Stage for optimal viewing.  There are flushable clean toilets, comfortable seating, and access to special food options.  Plus celebrity sightings are fun.

Do not attempt Uber or Taxi to leave.  You will have to wait at least 2 hours for an available ride and the walk to get there is horrendous.

Check out Heineken house for a reprieve from the blistering sun and a more intimate setting to see your favorite DJ’s.

Remember to hydrate, bring a lighter if you want to make friends, and go with the flow.

I can’t wait until next year!

XO,

Mina

 

Travel

Viva…you know the rest


I just had an epic weekend to celebrate my best friend’s 36th year of life.  Vegas is exactly what you think of it; a 24 hour entertainment town that has something for everybody.  More sparkle and flash than buttoned up and conservative.  Your lungs burn from the cigarette smoke and pollution, yet you feel awake from the extra oxygen being pumped into the casino.  If you have a low tolerance to nonsense than this is not the place for you.

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Tips:

  • Plan to spend a ridiculous amount on normal every day necessities, like food and transportation.
  • Stay hydrated with water. The desert will dry you out.
  • Get in touch with a VIP host to get into the clubs easier – you can find them on social media or they will find you inside the casino.
  • Find out which clubs your favorite music entertainers are playing at and then prioritize and figure out the most cost efficient way to make the most out of it – i.e table service vs VIP entry only.
  • Keep an open mind!  People don’t act how they would in their home town, so it will be less stressful to just go with the flow.
  • Be responsible for yourself!  The saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, is not always true.

XO,

Mina