Maui Eats

I told you in my Maui post that I would highlight a few of the places we ate throughout the week. We ate pretty darn well, I must say. Here are a few of our favorite places:

Spago

This was a real treat for us. This is definitely high end dining and I would not recommend Spago if you’re on a traveling tight budget. We had some friends who were also in Maui at the time and they wanted to take us out to their favorite restaurant on the island. Let’s just say that we were not disappointed!

Located inside the Four Seasons Resort, we had an amazing dinner with the sun setting on the ocean in the background. We aren’t the biggest fans of seafood, so Jordan and I had the pork chops and chicken breast. It was honestly so, so delicious, but in hindsight we regret not going out on a limb and opting for a seafood dish here, especially considering everything served in this restaurant is caught same day. We won’t make the same mistake next time!

Flatbread

This was recommended by several people. It is located in Paia and we stopped here on our way home from hiking. I am dumb and was imagining it as being actual flatbread (i.e. a piece of bread with toppings), but it was actually a pizza place. And pretty dang delicious!

We had a large party and they were able to seat us in an open area. We ordered several pizzas and shared each pizza between 2-3 people. We ordered the pepperoni and it was good, but the consensus was that the “Mopsy’s Kalua Pork” was the favorite.

Shaved Ice

You cannot visit Hawaii without grabbing some shaved ice. That would just be ludacris.

There didn’t seem to be as many options as there are on Oahu, but maybe that was just my observation from our side of the island. We stopped at a small place near The Shops at Lahaina called Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. My family used to own a shave ice place when I was younger, so I feel like I’m a pretty good judge. This place was delicious. I went with pineapple, guava and coconut. Can’t do anything less tropical when in Hawaii!

The Gazebo

If you don’t try out any of my other recommendations, please try this one. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS OUT. This place was so dang delicious. The Gazebo is hidden right next to a hotel pool and along the beach. They are only open until 2pm and you’re most likely always going to find a line, but it moves fast and is worth it.

We split an order of banana pancakes with their special toppings (which included coconut syrup and whipped cream). HOLY COW. I’m now forever a fan of coconut syrup and I did not want the goodness to end. We also ordered fried rice. I know this sounds a little unconventional for breakfast, but trust me. It’s delicious and you will not be disappointed. The plates are large, so it was easy to split between 3 of us at our table.

Kimo’s

Kimo’s was another great place with a great view of the ocean. We had quite a large party, so we were seated more inside. They had great starters with free bread and muffins. Jordan and I split the ribs which came with fries and veggies. The veggies weren’t great, and the food wasn’t the best thing we’ve ever had, but still good.

The dessert menu is where it’s at though! The hula pie is a must try here. It is a giant slice of ice cream pie covered in hot fudge and other deliciousness. We ordered one for the whole table, but if I’m being honest, I could have eaten much more than just a couple bites! We ordered the chef’s version, which includes mint chocolate chip ice cream instead of macadamia nut ice cream.

Leoda’s

Leoda’s was another recommendation. We heard that basically anything on the menu is good and I believe it.

We ordered the banana cream pie and it was bomb! We’re pretty sure most of their desserts would be delicious, but maybe steer clear of the chocolate haupia pie. We weren’t digging that one so much.

Hula Grill Ka’anapali

This was our last meal on Maui. It’s a fun environment and luckily they let us pick food off of the main menu even though we were seated in the dinner area. (I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but they had a special menu if you were seated in a certain area.)

We had to eat in a hurry before we headed to the airport, but we split a burger and fries and it was really delicious! Also, we wore Hawaiian shirts, so we felt pretty cool as you would expect. 😉

Honolua Store near the Ritz Carlton

We stopped here a few different times to grab food. One of which was an acai bowl for breakfast. It was good, but the acai was frozen. I am guessing that you can find some even better bowls somewhere else.

We had burgers here one night and they were actually pretty dang good. I highly recommend getting the sweet potato fries with that too.

Last but not least, pick up some banana bread here. There were some packaged homemade loaves that we spotted after Julia’s was a bust, and… they were delicious! After we stopped here for breakfast, we got a few more loaves to bring home with us and Jordan ran all the way home carrying them. Talk about dedication!

Gelato

Of course on our way to the airport we stop and get gelato. This is because I have zero self control and I love gelato. We hit up Ono Gelato near Lahaina and it was DELICIOUS. Perfect way to cap off a vacation. Cookies and cream was out of this world!

Moral of the Story: Maui has some good eats! Let us know your favorite Maui restaurants in the comments! 

 

Make the Most of Maui

Kelsey here! I took a trip to Maui with Jordan and his family for a week in January. Let me first say that I highly recommend tropical vacations in the dead of winter. It’s pretty great to go on morning runs along the ocean while your friends back home are shoveling the snow from their driveway. 😉

Our flight to Hawaii was a little rough, but the second we arrived and were able to take off our jackets and soak in the sun, all the hours of traveling were quickly forgotten. This trip, we stayed at a condo right near the Ritz Carlton where the rest of Jordan’s family was staying (we travel on a budget, ok?). It was in a perfect location and the views were amazing. We could sit at our kitchen table and watch the whales jumping out of the water. Amazing!

First things first, we stocked up on groceries for the week and got situated in our condo. Since we got enough groceries to last us the whole week, we typically only ate out about one meal per day. That’s not to say we didn’t have our fair share of fun treats and delicious food. Check out this post on our favorite places to eat!

As it got dark that first night, I was in awe of how dark it got and how clearly you could see the stars at night. Is there anything better than just sitting and listening to the waves of the ocean crash against the rocks? We sat on lawn chairs and stargazed for awhile. It’s not everyday you can see the stars so clearly!

One of the things Jordan and I loved about this trip were our morning workouts. When at home, I go to the gym every morning, and I really try to keep that up on vacation. Especially because I typically consume WAY more calories than normal. The first morning our run along the beach turned into a run up a trail, which turned into a hike. We kept walking through the jungle without any real idea of where we were going. Along the way we were continuously amazed by the jungle views and beautiful landscapes.

Our days often consisted of lounging by the pool at the Ritz Carlton or hitting up D.T Fleming Beach nearby. Jordan and his brothers did some boogie boarding there. It was right next to the resort so it was great to go from hotel pool to beach and back again. There were a few moments when it got really windy and rained a bit, so we took advantage of the hot tub in those moments!

DT Fleming Beach

 

A few highlights from the trip included:

Julia’s Banana Bread

Maybe I should just say, “making the drive to Julia’s banana bread” because when we arrived at the hut where Julia sells her banana bread, it was closed! We were super bummed, especially considering it was one scary drive to get there! It’s on the northwestern side of the island, and we just hopped on the road after leaving the Nakalele Blowhole. A good chunk of the drive consisted of a one lane road. We’re talking NO room for another car. If we came upon a car, one of us had to back up until there was enough room to pass. Pretty scary! Although we were bummed there was no banana bread at the end of the rainbow, the drive made for some good memories!

We stumbled upon a palm tree that had fallen into the middle of the road.

 

The Nakalele Blowhole

The blowhole is just off of mile marker 38.5 and about 8 miles north of Kapalua. The drive to the blowhole is absolutely gorgeous as you see views of the ocean and greenery all around. We parked and made the small walk to catch a glimpse of the blowhole. I had some embarrassingly unfashionable sandals on for the jaunt, but you could probably do it in just about any type of shoe. It wasn’t too tricky. The views were gorgeous and made for great pictures. There was even a heart shaped rock. Adorable.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling was one of my favorite things that we did while in Maui. We hit up several different beaches at different times of the day, but we had the best luck at Kapalua Bay Beach. Luckily, we were able to see some great stuff wherever we went, including: Ka’anapali Beach, Kahekili Beach, and Ka’anapali Beach by Black Rock. My favorite had to be when we were able to swim with sea turtles. So awesome!

I want to give a special shout out to Boss Frog’s Snorkel rental, because this was the best snorkel gear I have ever used. It was cheap ($27 for a week) and they gave some anti-fog liquid with every set so you could see clear as day. I didn’t have one leak the entire time! They have a ton of locations all over the island, so you can rent and return in different locations without an additional price. Praise.

Bamboo Forest Hike

I am doing an entire separate post on this because it was so much fun! This was one of the coolest hikes I have ever done. It CAN be dangerous, so proceed with caution, but we had an absolute blast hiking from waterfall to waterfall. We even had to swim to the last one! There was a rope swing and a few different places to cliff jump, so this one definitely needs to be on the list for those up for an adventure!

 

Delicious Food

Like I said, we bought groceries to keep us from eating out a ton, but we had some really good grub while we were out and about. We ate at some really fancy places (Spago) and some totally normal hole in the wall places (Maui Tacos). I highlight a few of our faves in another post!

Sunsets and Rainbows

Cliché, I know. But I don’t think that a day passed without seeing a rainbow! And seeing the sunsets were a highlight every night. Our world is so beautiful!

Overall, Maui is a blast. This was my first trip to Maui and I definitely fell in love. I love most tropical places, so it wasn’t hard for me to do. When you have a great destination with an awesome crew, it makes for an excellent trip!

What are your favorite spots on Maui? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Hey Mate, Let’s Go To Australia!

Lindsey here! Today I wanted to write and convince you ALL that you need to visit Australia. Get ready for word vomit and a million pictures from my phone and my camera! Recently my brother took a job there and selfishly (ok, maybe not THAT selfishly) took my sister-in-law and my 3 cute nephews with him. So OBVIOUSLY I needed to plan a visit. I don’t know if you’ve looked recently but tickets to Australia are typically super pricey, so I started watching flights like a hawk just hoping and praying I would find a good deal. Our friend Jordan, a fellow travel enthusiast, happened to come across a cheap flight option for me that flew out of L.A., so I called my mom, told her she was coming with me, and booked it right away! (Actually.. keep your eye’s peeled for a guest post from Jordan, when it comes to travel, there isn’t anyone I know that’s as educated as him!)

There are so many great resources these days to finding inexpensive flights! We will make sure to give you all the info we have on the blog soon!

Our flight left at the very end of November, which in Australia is the very beginning of summer. It was perfect! My brother lives in Sydney, but because of the flight deal we found, we ended up have a 20 layover on the way there in Brisbane! We were pretty tired from travel, but we got there at 8am so we decided to make the most of our time there and go out and explore! Because we were only there for a day, we didn’t get a rental car, so we decided to take a walk (my mom wouldn’t use that term) through the city. I think we ended up walking around 6.5 miles that day, which for jet-lagged travelers, wasn’t the easiest thing we’ve ever done! 

We ended up walking along the river and walking through the cities Botanical gardens which were beautiful! The riverside City Botanic Gardens are Brisbane’s original botanic gardens. We saw so many beautiful trees and birds and came across some of the grossest spiders I’ve every seen!

Our main destination on our walk was visiting the Brisbane LDS temple. It was so beautiful. Right after that we shared a burger on Kangaroo Point (plot twist, there are no kangaroos here) at The Cliff’s Cafe. Let’s just say an Australian hamburger is NOT the same as an American burger. I think we will stick with In and Out!

On our walk home we attempted to get some ice cream, but it was so hot outside that we ended up drinking it and getting it all over ourselves. It was hilarious. We had a really early flight the next morning so we decided to eat an early dinner of room service, which after the burger, was phenomenal, and turn in early. We were exhausted.

Also, in all of my years of travel I had never gotten on a plane outside, and I was way too excited about it. I couldn’t wait to see Sydney as we were flying in that morning!

When we got to Sydney, we went straight to exploring. My brother had so much to show us and was an excellent tour guide. I was so excited.We started off by going to Bronte Beach and we walked to Tamarama Beach on our way to Bondi Beach. The famous Bronte to Bondi walk. We saw the the lap pools that were on the ocean and I had never seen anything like that! They were incredible. The towns around the beaches reminded me of San Francisco.

For lunch we went to the cutest lunch place ever. If you end up in Sydney, you have to stop here! The place was called The Grounds of Alexandria. My brother said that everything in Australia is over the top. They love to make everything extra fancy, this place was beautiful.

I kept taking photos of signs that I thought were funny. I love how they spell curb there!

The next morning we woke up early and got going! We had a lot planned but started at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. At Featherdale Wildlife Park we saw kangaroos, wombats, Blake breasted buzzards, storks, echidnas, dingos, and over 1,700 mammals, birds and reptiles, just like our own comprehensive collection of Australian species. My favorite was the Koala we got to hold! Turns out zoos in Australia are a lot more interactive!

After the zoo we headed to the Blue Mountains, Australia’s own Grand Canyon. While we were there we hiked the Honeymoon Bridge. It was gorgeous and my nephews loved exploring there! I had no idea parts of Australia looked like this! Also, we pretty much lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on this trip because of our adventuring. My 12 year old dreams came true. 


The next day we headed to Morisset Mental Hospital on the way to the beach. Sounds odd, I know, but they have a field of Wild Kangaroos right next to the hospital. It was Incredible. They will walk right up to you and eat out of your hands! I only screamed a couple of times, which is surprising, one of the times was getting bit by a giant fire ant. Not the most comfortable thing, but 100% worth it! 

After our kangaroo adventure we headed to the beach to spend some time there! I was so excited to spend some time on the white Australian sand. I thought it was beautiful, but my brother said there are even more beautiful beaches if we had more time to travel through Australia. Although, I can’t imagine it being more beautiful!

Then we went to North Head Lighthouse where we explored and saw the most beautiful views and even found some Jelly Fish!


Then we finished off our day at Terrigal Beach, the tide was low and we walked out on the rocks and found hundreds of star fish and an octopus! My little nephews had such a good time here.

That night we went and visited the Sydney LDS temple. It was all decorated for Christmas and I loved being able to see it in person. 

The next day was our final day in Australia and we had a lot planned. We took a double decker bus into the city to see downtown and all it has to offer! My favorite building to see was the Queen Victoria Building! The architecture was fantastic downtown and they have the most incredible malls! 

After our walk downtown we took a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach. You have to go to Manly beach if you’re in Australia, it has such a fun atmosphere, so many restaurants, and it’s beautiful! On the ferry we really got to be up close and personal with the Sydney Opera House on the water. It was so surreal. I never thought I would be able to see it in person. We were able to walk around the gardens by the Sydney Opera House as well! 

Manly Beach was SO crowded. Probably because a lot of kids were out of school for Christmas break.

There is so much to see and do around the Sydney Opera House and it’s so fun to see from all different angles. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend going to Australia. They have so much to offer and I feel like I just skimmed the surface. If I were to go back, I would love to drive up to the Gold Coast, fly to see the Great Barrier Reef, and then make a trip to New Zealand! For now those will stay nice and cozy on my bucket list!

Have you been to Australia? What was your favorite part? Share your recommendations in the comments below!

That One Time We Basically Met Jimmy Fallon

Please tell me that there are others out there who love Jimmy Fallon as much as I do?! I mean, he’s just the best. I may or may not have dressed up as “Sara with no H” for Halloween once… And did I mention that my biggest claim to fame is that he once read one of my tweets on his show? Yeah, me and Jimmy are practically BFF’s.

Ok, but if you’re like us and love Jimmy, seeing The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, just might be on your bucket list. Let me tell you, if it’s not, it should be!

HOW WE SCORED TICKETS
The good thing about Jimmy’s show is that it isn’t impossible to get tickets. *Cough, Ellen, cough* It is difficult, but possible. You can check out a basic rundown of this information on his site, but the key is following @FallonTix on Twitter. Here, he tweets to let you know when tickets will be available and you have to be ready to go THE SECOND the clock strikes, because they are gone within minutes. Like two minutes.

We knew we were going to be on the East Coast in October of 2015 and since we would at least be in the vicinity of New York City, we decided to try for tickets. In August or September, they released the tickets for the October tapings. There were three of us going on the trip, and we were all three stationed by a computer when the calendar went live to choose your dates. Unfortunately, in the moment, two of us were placed on a waiting list and one of us was just straight up rejected. Sorry, Linds.

OUR DAY AT THE SHOW
Obviously, we were able to get into the taping. We got an email about three weeks before our trip that we were no longer on the waiting list and would be able to attend. We re-routed our New England road trip plans a bit to accommodate our day with Jimmy.

After arriving to the Big Apple, we headed straight to Rockefeller Center after strolling through Central Park and stopping by the MET. We had to be there by 2:30pm and the taping wasn’t until around 5pm, so a lot of waiting was involved. It wasn’t too bad because everyone is just as excited as you are to be there and hang out with Jimmy Fallon. I mean, come on. Eventually we went through security (don’t bring anything, by the way. Purses are ok, but definitely no backpacks. I just walked in with my cell phone in my pocket). As we passed through, they asked us a couple questions and gave us a wristband with a number on it. Next, we sat in a lounge area with constant clips of the show playing and interns were coming around to take our picture (because by this point, cell phones, especially photos, were not allowed and they threatened to kick you out, so we didn’t dare snap a pic).

They then took us into the studio and assigned us seats. We must have done something right, because we ended up on the fourth row, middle section, on the end. We were close, with a perfect view of the stage, and we even got a fist bump from Jimmy at the end of the show!

The show itself was awesome. They tape in real time, so it was fast paced and things occurred in the order that they do on the show. Our guests included Mike Tyson (seriously, such a strange dude), David Spade (pretty funny), and then the 4 Voice coaches at the time–Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Adam Levine. Blake performed after they all played a game together, and Lindsey and I are convinced that we were the only ones in the audience dancing and having a good time. Then again, what else is new!? 😉 One of the coolest parts of the day was when Jimmy came into the crowd during the commercial breaks and just chatted with audience members, answered questions, talked about some experiences he’s had and just got real with us. (I seriously regret that I didn’t bring a picture of my halloween costume to show him.) We all left there feeling like he was our friend. It was so fun to see what went on behind the scenes, and to watch the show the next day to see what ended up on the cutting room floor. Not to mention that Jordan was basically stole the show in the closing credits. The cameraman must have had a thing for him.

All in all, I would recommend this experience to anyone who even sort of likes Jimmy Fallon. It does take almost a whole day from a New York trip, but it’s so fun and we thought it was totally worth it! Naturally we had to buy a t-shirt to commemorate our experience!

Do you love Jimmy Fallon? What is your favorite sketch of his? Is going to his show on your bucket list?

How We Scored Round Trip Tickets to Europe for Less Than $400

You read that right. Less than $400! Miracles do exist, people.

Lindsey and I had decided several months prior to the purchase that we wanted to go to Europe sometime this year; we just needed to find the right deal. At one point we had found some flights out of LAX for $500 and below, but be waited too long to decide and deals like that do not last long. We were kicking ourselves for missing out on such a good deal. So, when we saw that flights from our hometown airport of Salt Lake City were going for $350+, we did not hesitate.

The key to scoring a deal like this is being in the know. It’s important to follow any and all of the travel blogs and sites that release cheap flight information and error fares. There is an Instagram account we found that features cheap flights out of the SLC airport. If you live in the Salt Lake City area and aren’t following, it’s a great resource. That is where we found out about this deal. [Update: She also has instagram accounts for deals out of Las Vegas, Denver, San Fran and Portland.] Other great accounts to follow include The Points Guy, Secrets of Flying, and Airfare Watchdog. Sometimes I scroll through twitter and see a deal, and by the time I click the link, the deal is already gone. One of my favorite resources is Google Flights. They have done a ton in recent years to increase their search capabilities, and it is pretty awesome. You can track prices and emails will come to you as soon as prices to your dream destination drop.

Another key element in scoring this type of deal is simply being willing to pull the trigger. Lindsey and I had been thinking about Europe for a while, so we did not hesitate a ton. Our only hesitation was deciding where to fly in and out of. Mind you that we made this purchase at about 1am, after we spent a good hour playing around with dates and airports, but we are pretty happy with our decision to fly in to Lugano, Switzerland and out of Amsterdam. Lindsey invited a few other friends the next morning and by the time they checked prices, our same flight was already up to $1600. They were able to find a flight to Amsterdam for about $500 RT, BUT the downfall is that they have to fly out of Denver.

Another side note to keep in mind: don’t limit yourself to just your home airport. We live in a great spot where we can often get pretty cheap tickets to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix or Denver. If you want to go on a trip with a typically expensive ticket, check out surrounding airports in order to find a cheaper deal for the longer legs, then buy a cheap ticket to get you to your starting point. For example, Frontier often offers flights for $38 RT to Denver. Just be aware of extra fees for baggage and seating on budget airlines.

Moral of the story: subscribe to various flight deals or travel search engines, be ready to book, and keep your options open to find the best deals.

What travel blogs/flight deals do you subscribe to? What are the best deals that you have found? Share any other travel hacks you have in the comments below!