Big Island, Hawaii

I love when you set out looking for one thing, but what you find is
even more incredible than you expected.

Big Island, Hawaii


From the Gardens of Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii

The weather is getting warmer here in Detroit, but not quite warm enough to plant flowers just yet. Instead, I edited some garden photos that I took in Hawaii, where they bloom all year long. Happy Spring everyone!

Kona, Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii

All the Birds Sing Words: My Tiki Fascination

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Big Island

Part mid-century mod decor, part ancient religious icons. Beautiful wooden carving or ceramic mai tai-filled mug. A little bit Shag painting, and a little bit scary. The thought of Tiki conjures up all kinds of images in my mind, from giant Polynesian statues to animatronic Disneyland show, and I am fascinated by them all.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

My fascination with Tiki began as a small kid inside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disney World. Of course, there is a much deeper meaning to the world of Tiki than amusement park attraction.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

What was turned into a caricature of tropical fun a half-century ago are actually ancient Polynesian deities. Tiki statues, or ki’i, of these gods were created to capture divine powers and connect with the spiritual realm.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

On a recent visit to the Hawaiian islands, we visited a beautiful historic park on the Big Island. Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, or Place of Refuge, is a sacred site where law breakers in ancient Hawaii could come to be saved from their penalty of death. Visitors can see temples, ruins, and a number of Tiki statues.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

While the ki’i are recreations of the original statues, their craftsmanship is incredible, and I will always be impressed by the imagination and creativity of the ancient Polynesian people who originally created these figures.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

I will admit that while I love retro Tiki collectibles more than the average gal, and the Tiki Room will always have a place in my heart, seeing Tikis as they were meant to be seen is the most fascinating and best of the many portrayals of Tiki.

Pou’uhonua o Honaunau, Big Island, Hawaii

 “All the birds sing words and the flowers croon, in the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room.”
– Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

The Great Pololu Escape

I could use a great escape today (it was a rough one!) and if I could go anywhere right now Pololu would be at the top of my list. I’d take the quick little hike down into the valley and find a nice spot on the soft black sand. I would probably bring a good book, but who could take their eyes off the jewel-toned waves rolling in and the lush green valley? A good couple of hours here and my problems would melt away… until it was time to make that long hike back up to reality.

Visiting Volcanoes

Hiking through Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii was a surreal and incredible reminder of the power of Mother Nature. I would have never believed that so many beautiful flowering plants could live throughout a sea of hardened black lava. Nor would I have expected clouds of steam to rise from the ground in the middle of a forest. Like taking a walk through a rainforest, which leads you to the moon, where you continue on to Oz, every bit of it was amazing.

3 Things I Learned from the Big Island

Visiting Hawaii gave me the opportunity to slow down (even though we had a non-stop agenda), get away from the stress of everyday life, and gain a fresh perspective on the important things. Reconnecting with nature, taking in the sweet air, stopping to soak in the beauty that surrounded me, I recognized that I could take away some valuable lessons from the Big Island.

1) Ignore the scary things along your path and just keep going

I was terrified to continue down a rainforest trail once I spotted some big, crunchy spiders looming in the foliage, but if I hadn’t continued on, I would have missed so much. Too often I let the little things scare me from moving forward with something I really want to go after, but like worrying what might crawl up my leg in a beautiful Hawaiian garden, I need to get over my fears of what might happen and focus on the waterfalls, palms, and orchids of life.

2) Jump right in

I had been really looking forward to the opportunity to snorkel with dolphins out in the Pacific ocean, but my crazy imagination (and the fact that I’ve watched Jaws a few too many times) got me a little panicky once it was time to get in the water. After some deep breaths and the added security of a noodle (tiger sharks would never go after someone with a long floaty thing), I was able to relax and truly enjoy the experience. Each time we stopped to get in the water, I felt more at ease and learned to jump right in. I didn’t want to miss a second of swimming with these beautiful, graceful creatures. I guess life should always be like that. If there is something you want to experience or accomplish, jump right in and stop wasting time.

3) Always be ready

You never know when an amazing opportunity will come your way, and like trying to capture spinner dolphins jumping out of the water, you need to always be ready.

Hopefully my new braver, bolder, ready-to-pounce-on-any-opportunity-that-comes-my-way self will stick around for awhile. I’m ready for some great adventures.

Time Traveling to Lapakahi

Like dreaming and time traveling all at once, my hike through Lapakahi State Historical Park was a surreal and mystical journey. Tucked into a quiet corner of the Big Island, and with only a handful of other visitors, I felt like I found the most beautiful secret hiding place.

Surrounded by earthy lava plains, this turquoise and green oasis takes you back to the time of the Hawaiian heiau (temple) and hale (thatched home). It’s easy to see why settlers chose this spot hundreds of years ago, but I won’t ramble on explaining how gorgeous it is. I took pictures to show you.