Jan 13, 2014

Mid-winter getaway: Kauai

One of my favorite places to vacation with my family is on Kauai. It's the perfect place to get away from the clouds in the city and soak up a little sunshine while relaxing on the beach. I love the laid back vibe on the island, the family-friendly atmosphere, the island hospitality and of course, the fact that most of the island shuts down by 9pm. It's a great place to escape, unwind and reconnect with what's important.

When to Go
Last year we visited Kauai in late January and again in early July and the weather was amazing both times. Plenty of sunshine and minimal rain. In fact, it only rained once on each trip and the rain showers passed quickly. The average temperature in the winter on Kauai is in the mid to upper 70's. Although Kauai is beautiful in the summer months, I prefer to visit outside of peak season when the beaches are less crowded. January, February and September are among my favorite months to escape for a tropical vacation.

Where to Stay
With close proximity to the airport, we like to stay at the Kauai Beach Resort. It's perfect for families with kids because in addition to a regular Hawaiian style swimming pool there's a second pool with a water slide and shallow wading area (complete with sand) for kids. This is an especially important feature if you are visiting during the winter months with little ones who are not yet strong swimmers. The rip current in the ocean can be dangerous and sometimes swimming at the hotel pool might be a better bet. If (like me) you can't imagine vacationing in paradise without swimming in the ocean, Lydgate State Park is less than 5 minutes away from the hotel and has a rock barrier that is perfect for little swimmers and great for snorkeling too!

What to Do
The plan is, there is no plan. And that's how we like to organize our itinerary while on vacation. With that being said, you'll definitely want to make time for a few of these amazing things.

Ke'e Beach
If you're looking for a great beach on the island with gorgeous views and great swimming don't miss Ke'e beach. Located at the end of the road on Kuhio Highway, this beach is a destination but it's one worth seeing while your on the island. The Na Pali cliffs create a beautiful backdrop and make for an unforgettable experience. If you're staying in Kapaa the drive to Ke'e can take up to an hour, so plan accordingly. Travel tip: Head to the beach early because parking can be limited, then hit the restaurants in Hanalei Town for lunch.

Koloa Rum Company
You'll never look at a rum and coke the same after visiting the Koloa Rum Company. They handcraft rum in small batches directly on the island using pure sugarcane and mountain rainwater. The result is an amazingly smooth rum that will make you a true believer. Stop in for a free tasting and sample all the Koloa Rum flavors including gold, dark, white, spice and of course, coconut. www.koloarum.com

Tree Tunnel
Make time to visit Old Koloa town even if it's just to drive through the tree tunnel to get there on highway 520. A canopy of beautiful Eucalyptus trees lines the road providing a serene and gorgeous drive to Poipu Beach and Old Koloa Town.

Hanalei Bay
What would a trip to Kauai be without a trip to Hanalei Bay? This beautiful beach is about 45 minutes from Lihue and there's a reason why people say this is one of the "must-see" beaches on the island. You can literally spend an entire day here just soaking up the sun, watching the boats come and go, and enjoying the scenery. Pack a cooler, bring a beach blanket and enjoy the views.

Beauty Bar Kauai
If you're a make-up junkie or just to want indulge in a few new beauty products while on vacation, don't miss Beauty Bar Kauai located in Princeville. This adorable little boutique stocks TokyoMilk, Smashbox Cosmetics, NuFace, Juice Beauty, Butter London, Jane Iredale and more. The Beauty Bar also does blow outs, hair styling make-up application and spray tans.

Poipu Beach 
If you're traveling with kids, Poipu Beach is another great place to check out while on Kauai. There's a swimming area for kids enclosed by a rock barrier which provides calm water for little ones to swim, snorkel and explore. Monk seals regularly lounge here so be on the look out when you hit the beach. Travel tip: Poipu Shopping Village is a 2 minute drive from the beach. For a quick lunch try a Puka Dog- they are so good!

# 1- Pedicure
You'll be wearing sandals everyday while on Kauai and if you've been living in boots all winter, chances are your feet could use a little TLC. Plan in advance for a spa pedicure so that you can put your best foot forward. An 80-minute Lux Pedicure at The Spa at The Four Seasons is $115 and includes a soak, seasonal scrub, supple serum and massage. 

# 2- Spray Tan
Don't compromise your good health habits by being careless about your sun exposure while on vacation. Skin cancer is real and it doesn't discriminate. Feel more confident in your swimsuit and get a pre-vacation glow with a spray tan before your trip. Seattle-based Divine Sunless Tanning will come to your home (or office) and customize a golden glow just for you. 

# 3- Swimsuit
Pack at least two swimsuits for your Hawaiian vacation so that your morning swim doesn't affect your afternoon adventures. Nordstrom has always been my go-to for great swimwear, but if you're shopping on a budget it's always a good idea to check Target too. Travel tip: To keep your swimsuit in good condition rinse after wear with cool water and lay it flat to dry in the shade on your balcony. (Laying out your suit to dry in direct sunlight can cause it to fade over time). 

# 4- Island Wear
From a style perspective, the Hawaiian islands are very casual and you can usually get by with packing just one or two dressy outfits for date nights or special occasions and keeping the rest of your wardrobe very casual.  When I'm on Kauai I live in sun dresses, sunglasses and sandals. If I'm going to do something active, like riding bikes or hiking, I'll wear a tank top and a pair of linen shorts. Pack things that are lightweight and easy to wear. Style tip: Don't forget to pack a tote bag for the beach. Look for something made out of nylon instead of cotton so that your valuables will stay dry.

#5- Sunscreen
Don't wait until you're on the island to purchase sunscreen. I've made this mistake before and have been really disappointed with the inflated prices and limited selection. If you're in the market for a high-quality sunscreen that's oil-free and won't cause breakouts, try SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense SPF 30+, available locally at SkinSpirit (formerly Calidora). 

before you go.....

Renting a car on the island is essential, especially if you plan to explore. We've always had good luck renting from Alamo Rent a Car while on Kauai, but if you're a AAA member traveling with kids you may want to rent with Hertz as they offer members a 20% discount plus free child seat rentals. 

Romantic and kid-free date nights on Kauai are made possible with the help of Nana's Babysitting Services. Sharon Hackleman has over 30+ years of experience working with children and is certified in both CPR and First Aid. Sharon shows up at your hotel room with a suitcase full of toys and instantly makes children feel at ease. We highly recommend her services and will definitely use her again.
Alaska Airlines runs daily, non-stop flights from Seattle to Kauai. The flight time is about 6.5 hours and less travel time means more time to spend on the beach. 

Leave us a comment below and share your favorite Kauai tips and places to visit. 
We love hearing from readers!

Craving more? Check out our Kauai board on Pinterest! 

Don't miss: The Astro Twins at Nordstrom

If you have plans for tomorrow night, cancel them immediately and come see the Astro Twins at Nordstrom's New Beginnings Pop-In shop. The twins will be available to answer you biggest questions and shed light on what's in your stars for 2014. As the official astrologers for Elle.com, horoscopes by the Astro Twins reach millions each month. In addition to being featured by MTV, The New York Times, E! News and The Style Network, the Astro Twins have done personalized chart readings for Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and Sting. This is a complimentary, do-not-miss event and you're on the list!

What: The Astro Twins at Nordstrom

When: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Where: Downtown Seattle Nordstrom 500 Pine St. Seattle, WA 98101

Time: 6-8pm

Follow the twins on Twitter @AstroTwins and be sure to check their site for daily, weekly and monthly horoscopes.

Jan 8, 2014

Phoenix Fashion Week heads to Seattle

Reps from Phoenix Fashion Week will be in town on Wednesday, January 15th to do a special meet and greet with Seattle-area designers. Local designer Bri Seeley has participated in past Phoenix Fashion Week events and reports that she had a great experience being part of the show. If you're an emerging designer looking for a chance to show your line on the runway don't miss out on this informational event. 

What: Phoenix Fashion Week Meet & Greet

When: Wed. January 15th, 2014 at 6pm

Where: Triple Door 216 Union St. Seattle, WA 98101

Who should attend: Emerging/established apparel and accessory designers

RSVP: abbei@phoenixfashionweek.com

Want to see what Phoenix Fashion Week is all about? Check out videos from past events on YouTube.

Jan 6, 2014

SEE Eyewear now open in Seattle

After building a cult following in cities like New York, LA and Chicago, SEE Eyewear is now officially open in Seattle. Catering to true eyewear aficionados, Selective Eyewear Elements aka SEE offers clients an exclusive, fashion-forward selection of eyewear sourced directly from the world's top manufacturers. Allowing consumers to view eyewear as an affordable fashion accessory, SEE gives customers "reverse sticker shock" by offering high-quality frames at 1/3 to 1/2 the price of comparable, high fashion eyewear. If you're in the market for a new pair of glasses (prescription or not) stop by SEE Eyewear to experience the line. The company unveils a new collection of limited-edition eyewear each month and the January line will be in stores this week! They also have a great selection of sunglasses all priced at $99 flat.

Voted "Best Eyewear" in major publications' Readers' Polls, SEE Eyewear has been featured in Vogue, InStyle, GQ, Marie Claire, Elle and more. Stop in to see what "hip without the rip" is all about. 

SEE Eyewear
1429 Fifth Ave. (at Pike)
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 288-5040

Looking for a little eyewear inspiration? Check out our Girls + Glasses board on Pinterest!

Jan 4, 2014

2014 New Year Style Resolutions

2013 was a crazy year full of adventures, family, friends and a lot of fashion. Cheers to making 2014 even better with a few easy-to-incorporate style resolutions for the New Year! 

It's easy to get into the skinny jeans + boots routine in the winter, which is why I resolve to wear more dresses in 2014. Not only are they easy to wear, but they can also be so much fun to accessorize. Add a belt to accentuate your waist, add tights to infuse color, or try adding a fitted jacket to create structure. There are so many creative ways to wear a dress, the important thing is to have fun with it!
Seattle Style Tip
Local boutiques with a great selection of dresses include:
Queen Anne Dispatch - 2212 Queen Anne Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98109
Horseshoe - 5344 Ballard Ave. N.W. Seattle, WA 98107
Karan Dannenberg Clothier - 2232 First Ave. Seattle, WA 98121

You don't have to live in New York to wear a wardrobe that consists of all black. After all, black is slimming and when you're out shopping it always seems like the "safest" color to buy, but let's face it, in Seattle our backdrop is often a gray sky so why not use your wardrobe to brighten things up? Infusing more color into your wardrobe doesn't mean doing a complete overhaul. It means strategically adding in colorful pieces that you love and wearing them in a way that works for you.

We all have a list of things we say we'll "never wear" but 2014 is an opportunity to branch out and try new things. It could be a different style of shoe than you are used to wearing, a new silhouette, swapping your contacts for a pair of glasses, or even adding a hat. Flip through fashion magazines, browse style blogs, and check Pinterest for inspiration to get started.
Seattle Style Tip
Local blogs that are great for outfit inspiration include:
The Thread Affect
Alix Rose
The Demure Muse
Style Logical

This is one of my favorite resolutions because in order to "flip it" you literally have to get outside your comfort zone. Flipping it means continuing to wear the things you love to wear but flipping it to wear them in a different way. For example, if you normally wear prints on top, challenge yourself to "flip it" and wear prints on the bottom instead. If you normally wear your hair down, try wearing it up in a stylish ponytail or braid. You get the idea.

Have you ever noticed how even a great outfit can look awkward if the person wearing it doesn't "own it"? In other words, if you don't love the outfit you're wearing, it shows. We all have days where we throw on an outfit because it's clean, convenient or because we're too lazy to spend time in our closets putting together an outfit that we truly love. How can you curate the perfect closet? The key is to find clothing that fits well and makes you feel good about yourself. Do a thorough closet audit and see what pieces you can mix and match to create new outfits that you truly love. While you're at it, make a pile of things that need to be dry cleaned, figure out what pieces may need alterations and make a pile of things to donate or consign. If you're not sure where to start, invest in a style session with a personal stylist who can evaluate your current wardrobe and help you fill in the gaps to create a well-rounded wardrobe full of possibilities.
Seattle Style Tip
Local stylists who can help save your current wardrobe or create a new one:
Styled Seattle
Rosaline Hampton 
Local places to consign fashion-forward goods:
Sell your Sole - 2121 First Ave. Suite #101 Seattle, WA 98121
Ragamoffyns - 132 Park Lane Kirkland, WA 98033

Happy New Year!

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