Aug 5, 2021

Seattle in Bloom: Local Hotels Celebrate Guests with Fresh Flowers

Downtown Seattle hotels are celebrating their guests by treating them to beautiful bouquets of flowers from Pike Place Market. Every day in August, the first 100 people to stop by the Visitor Information Center at Pike Place Market (located on the corner of 1st Ave. and Pike) with their hotel confirmation will receive a $15 Bloom Bucks voucher redeemable for a Pike Place Market bouquet. 

A variety of local hotels are participating in this program including Four Seasons Seattle, Thompson Seattle, Hotel Monaco, Fairmont Olympic, Grand Hyatt, Hotel Sorrento, Hotel Theodore, and more. For a full list of participating hotels click here. Fine print: One voucher per hotel reservation, while supplies last. 

Pike Place Market began selling produce to the public in 1907 and grew to 76 stalls with the first three months. By 1922, the market expanded to 11 buildings and spanned nine acres along the Seattle waterfront. Plan your visit and learn more about this historic market here

Photo credit: Vivian Hsu Photography


Everlane is Now Open at U Village

Everlane, the sustainable fashion brand known for radical transparency, is now open at Seattle's University Village. The new store is the brand's first store in the Pacific Northwest and marks the brand's 8th brick-and-mortar location in the U. S. In addition to apparel for men and women, the new store also stocks footwear, accessories, and swimwear. The store will also sell a limited edition "100% Seattle" t-shirt that will benefit the ACLU. To celebrate the grand opening on August 5th, the store will donate all of its sales for the day (up to $25,000) to Got Green, a local non-profit dedicated to environmental justice. 

The company deeply believes that in order to make meaningful progress in the fight against climate change, we need to move fast. As a result, Everlane has committed to a variety of initiatives including eliminating virgin plastic from its supply chain and moving toward organic cotton. As of April 2021, the company reported that 97% of its apparel materials containing polyester and nylon are now made from certified recycled fibers and 45% of the plastic components on its footwear are now made from recycled materials. When it comes to packaging, all shipping bags are made from 100% recycled plastic or FSC-certified paper. Clean denim is another area of focus for the brand and the company takes great pride in partnering with factories that recycle water, use renewable sources of energy, and utilize organic cotton that are farmed without toxic pesticides. Everlane denim is available in waist sizes 23 (US size 00) to 35 (US size 16). Denim prices start at $68. 

Everlane was founded in 2010 as a direct-to-consumer brand and opened its first physical retail location in 2017. The University Village store is located in between Levis and Athleta at 2618 NE University Village St. Seattle, WA 98105. 

Learn more about what Everlane is doing to address diversity, equity, and inclusion, here


Aug 2, 2021

Summer 2021 Travel Guide: Kauai

Kauai is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I actually lived on the island for several years as a kid and it's always had a special place in my heart. My family loves it too, so we try and visit as often as we can. Kauai is Hawaii's fourth-largest island and is often called the "Garden Island" for its lush greenery. The island is less touristy than other islands and most things shut down by 9 p.m., so you're forced to relax and enjoy the scenery. After a crazy year of working from home while also homeschooling the kids due to the pandemic, we desperately needed this recharge. Read on for my guide on all things Kauai. 

Best Place to Stay

We always stay at the Kauai Beach Resort when we visit the island. We've stayed there many times over the years and always had a great experience. The hotel is located in Lihue near the airport and has been a great home base for us when we visit. The rooms are spacious and if you can get a view with an ocean view, even better. 

One of the best things about this hotel is that there are four swimming pools, including one with a water slide. We also loved the convenience of the poolside outdoor bar. For littles, there's a super shallow, sandy pool that has a great water feature.  

The hotel also has a great gift shop/coffee bar that serves Starbucks coffee and pastries. It was a great way to start the day and pick up snacks before heading out on our daily adventures. The hotel also has a great bar and restaurant for dine-in or take-out. One of the things we loved about our recent visit was the fact that you can now order and pay remotely via your phone and pick up your food at the hostess stand once it's ready. Technology is the best. 

We found ourselves at Shutter's Lounge multiple times on our trip. They do great fish tacos and Kalbi beef bowls. They also have a great kids menu which was helpful since we have notoriously picky eaters. 

Best Beach for Kids

Kauai Beach Resort is less than 10 minutes away from Lydgate Beach Park, a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. This beach is protected from the ocean by a rock wall, making it a great choice for kids and for those who want to snorkel. There are also lifeguards on-site and a shaded playground nearby that is great for kids who need a break from the sun. There are also on-site facilities including picnic areas and restrooms. 

Best Beach on the Island

Hanalei Bay is the best beach on Kauai. Although it's not the easiest to get to at the moment due to recent andslides and subsequent construction, it's worth the drive. Located on Kauai's North shore just past Princeville, Hanalei offers clear blue water, white sand, and sweeping views of gorgeous green mountains. The historic pier was built in 1892 and still offers visitors a stunning backdrop for beach days and sunset picnics. 

Check Hawaii's DOT site for traffic info before heading out to stay up to date on lane closures and traffic revisions. 

Best Beach for Spotting Sea Turtles

Poipu Beach is a great place to spot sea turtles on Kauai. We spotted them several times surfing the waves when we visited the beach and each sighting was magical! The drive to Poipu Beach from Kapaa is about 40 minutes by car and you get to pass through a beautiful tree tunnel on the way. Poipu Beach has a great swimming area with lifeguards plus a playground for kids.  You can also get a legendary Puka Dog across the street from the beach. 

Best Place for Beach Rentals

There are many great places to rent beach equipment on Kauai including sun umbrellas, bodyboards, coolers, beach chairs, inflatables, and more. We rented from Kauai Snorkel Rentals located at Coconut Marketplace in Kauai. The prices are great, $15 for a week-long body board rental, and the process was super easy. We simply showed up, picked out our gear, and brought it back a week later. This is a WAY better alternative to buying gear and leaving it behind at the end of the trip. We talked to locals about this issue and it sounds like island tourists are notorious for this. Please be mindful of the environment and the footprint you leave behind when you visit Hawaii. 

Best Shave Ice

I could literally eat shave ice every day and I probably would if I lived in Hawaii. We loved Jojo's Shave Ice at the Coconut Marketplace in Kapaa and went back several times during our time. They offer so many delicious flavor combinations but our favorite was definitely the classic Rainbow (Strawerry, Banana, Vanilla) with Macadamia nut ice cream. Shave ice makes a great snack on a hot day and the small size was big enough to share. 

Best Poke Bowl

If you're a poke fan, don't miss the fresh fish at Foodland in Princeville. For less than $10 you can get a rice bowl topped with fresh poke. Voted Hawaii's best for 9 years in a row, I promise you, this poke bowl is well worth the drive. I like spicy poke, Shoyu (mixed with soy sauce), and Hawaiian-style (mixed with seaweed and sea salt). Honestly, they're all good and if you can buy a bag of Hawaiian taro chips, the experience is even better. If you're heading to Hanalei Bay for the day, stop by Foodland to pick up a poke bowl for lunch on the way. 

Best Date Night Restaurant

Every time we visit Kauai, we always make reservations at The Plantation House by Gaylords. This is a great restaurant for date nights, family dinners, and special occasions. The dinner menu includes fresh ahi poke, lobster gnocchi, sake short ribs, and truffle potatoes. The cocktails are good, too! If you head over for lunch, don't miss the Koloa Rum Tasting Room which is also located on-site. 

Car Rental Advice

There's a severe rental car shortage in Hawaii due to low inventory and increased demand, so if you want wheels on your trip (you'll need them), I recommend that you book early. We rented from Avis on this trip and had a great experience. Our 4-door Jeep Sahara was so much fun to drive!

How to Plan Your Itinerary

Driving around Kauai takes time, especially during the summer months, so it's best to plan your day by choosing one main area to explore or dividing the day into morning and afternoon activities. Hanalei Bay is a full-day activity when you consider drive time and traffic revisions. Here are some of our favorite things to explore on Kauai that should absolutely be on your itinerary:

Hanalei Bay
  • Beach Park & Pier (the most gorgeous beach with white sand and clear blue water) 
  • Hanalei Shopping Center - Lots of great local shops and restaurants 
  • Bubba's Burgers
  • Plan a full day and take a picnic lunch to the beach. Rain showers and clouds generally pass quickly, so don't be worried if you see a few clouds in the sky. 

  • Princeville Center is a great place to shop and dine
  • Foodland has THE best poke bowls on the island
  • There's a great toy store for kids on-site
  • Keep an eye out for the Princeville Night Market

Poipu Beach
  • Beach Park & Playground
  • Sea Turtle Spotting
  • Puka Dogs
  • Baby Beach
  • Brennecke's Beach Broiler
  • Old Koloa Town (Stop by on your way to Poipu Beach)
  • The Shops at Kukui'ula (Located near Poipu Beach and a great place to stop for dinner after a day at the beach. The center also has Long's Drugs so you can stock up on anything you forgot at home)

Waimea Canyon
  • Great scenic drive when you need a break from the sun
  • The canyon is a 14-mile stretch with panoramic views
  • The road ends at Kokee State Park

Coconut Marketplace
  • Located in Kapaa with easy parking and plenty of gift shops
  • Don't miss Jojo's Shave Ice
  • Great dining options including Chicken in a Barrel, Bobby V's, and Island Country Market
  • You can also get beach rentals including sun umbrellas, snorkel gear, and more at Coconut Marketplace

Final Thoughts

If you're heading to Kauai, take a deep breath, enjoy the experience, and don't forget to pack your patience. The summer months are peak season for tourists and in addition to increased traffic on the roads, you'll also experience long wait times at restaurants if you don't have advance reservations. Kauai is experiencing the same labor shortages we are on the mainland, so please remember to be patient and kind. If you're staying at a hotel, don't forget to take out cash to tip your housekeepers. They are working overtime this summer and want to help ensure that your trip to paradise is an amazing one. 

Last but not least, please note that masks are mandatory indoors in Kauai. It's a state law and businesses are doing their best to keep everyone safe. You can view Hawaii's latest pre-travel testing requirements here.

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