Posts Tagged ‘girls trip’

Exploring Maui, Hawaii: Sunset Stroll and Happy Hour Picks in Wailea

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The Mana Kai Maui during golden hour

During my amazing girls trip to Maui our base for the first few days was the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. Our first night on the island we took a walk along the beach towards Kihei to enjoy the sunset views.

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Sunset fishing spot in Kihei

There are a couple of great happy hours in Kihei with stunning views. Sarento’s on the Beach and the 5 Palms at the Mana Kai Maui are both excellent locations to take in the sunset and enjoy an adult beverage.

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White sand beach during golden hour at Kamaole Beach Park

If you just want to stretch your legs, there are quite a few lovely public spots to take in the stunning views of Maui.

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Golden girls during golden hour

The public beaches are all easily accessible via foot including Kamaole Beach Park I, Kamaole Beach Park 2 and Kamaole Beach Park III. Walking through them is enjoyable because you’ll see plenty of locals playing in the surf and walking their dogs in these parks.
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Dog walk at Kamaole Beach Park

After dark, I highly recommend heading to the Andaz Maui where guests can enjoy roasting marshmallows poolside. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, it’s worth dining at Morimoto Maui for their sushi and Japanese menu (the hamachi tacos and chicken ramen soup are stand out dishes).

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Curves and clouds at Kamaole Beach Park

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Golden hour at Kihei’s Kama’ole Beach Park

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Toasting marshmallows poolside at the Andaz Maui

If you don’t want to do the walk after dark, an Uber X costs about $4 to take you from Kamaole Beach Park back to the Andaz Wailea.

Sarento’s on the Beach

2980 South Kihei Road
Kihei, Maui, HI 96753
Phone (808) 875-7555

5 Palms
2960 S. Kihei Road
Kihei, Maui HI 96753
Phone (808) 879-2607

Morimoto Maui
3550 Wailea Alanui Dr.
Wailea, HI 96753
(808) 243-4766

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Super Flytographer Experience in Portland, Oregon

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Flytographer Whitney shooting Katie in Portland’s Pearl District (Photo by Jen Pollack Bianco)

EDITOR’S NOTE: all other photos in this post are by Whitney in Portland for Flytographer

Trips with my BFFs don’t happen in my life nearly as much as they should. I am incredibly lucky to have great girlfriends with adventurous spirits who agreed to meet me for a Pacific Northwest girlfriend getaway. Since I live in Seattle, that was a logical place to start. We wanted a “road trip” segment so we headed to Portland for 36 hours in the Rose City.

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Just hanging out in the Pearl District

Katie has been my BFF since the first day of Fourth grade in Indianapolis. She was my college roommate and my bridesmaid. When Zan showed up in middle school, we became a power trio. The three of us have had many adventures and a few misadventures together. Now we live in three different cities and don’t get together nearly enough. When planning our PNW girls trip, I realized I didn’t want to be the one behind the lens the entire time. So many of the photos of the three of us have been taken at weddings and reunions. We just did not have enough photos of the three of us simply goofing around and enjoying each other’s company. Enter… Flytographer.

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Our Flytographer experience was Yo, Awesome and Rad

We rocked these Sisters of Los Angeles Baja jackets for part of our shoot

Flytographer is a destination photography company whose motto is “some trips deserve more than selfies.” This was one of those trips. I’ve been wanting to try out Flytographer since some of my fellow travel blogger friends have used the destination photography service. Flytographer offers short photo sessions in most major cities and vacation destinations on six continents. The company works by pairing clients with local photographers. Flytographer shoots are a no-brainer for major life events like proposals and babymoons. I went with Whitney in Portland because I liked her photographic sensibility and thought her love of travel made her the right choice for our girlfriends getaway.

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The yellow VW Microbus we stumbled upon was a great shoot location

After filling out Flytographer’s request form with relevant info, I got a quick response from a Flytographer Concierge who kept me looped in during the whole process and let me know she was checking Whitney’s availability. Then I read Flytographer’s Style Guide. While we definitely wanted candid photos, I did want us to look like our we had our act together. Zan and I recently bought jumpsuits we love at Bleu Clothing, so we convinced Katie to jump on the jumpsuit bandwagon. We drew our fashion inspiration from fashion icons like Charlie’s Angels and The Pointer Sisters. Sex and the City came up as a style reference as well. But there were four main characters in SATC, and no one in my girl squad is the Miranda.

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Chillaxing in Tanner Springs Park

Props to Katie for finding a red jumpsuit online and rocking it like a young Diane Von Furstenberg! Have I mentioned my friend Katie is crazy resourceful?

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Exploring Powell’s City of Books

My Flytographer, Whitney, was great about suggesting locations for the shoot. We decided to star with Tanner Springs Park and then head to downtown Portland. The Flytographer Concierge put all the details together so we knew where and when to meet Whitney. We had a great time during this shoot. Not only did we have an excuse to dress up and act silly, but we got to explore the Pearl District with a Portland native, which was fun. We wound up in Powell’s City of Books, one of my favorite bookstores on the planet. This was perfect because all three of us girls are still book nerds.

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Obligatory Charlie’s Angels homage

As you can see, the inner child in each of us is alive and well.

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Another classic Charlie’s Angels pose

We did a mix of posed and candid shots with Whitney, who was great at given us direction. Going in, my goal was to get three good shots out of the Flytographer session. I think we wound up with a lot more than that, and we had a lot of fun during our shoot. We finished with a round of Cosmopolitans at Pepe le Moko, a funky subterranean bar that felt like a bomb shelter.

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We finished our session with a round of cosmos at Pepe Le Moko

I really enjoyed shooting with Whitney and found myself relaxing in front of the camera for once. The fun continued when I got a preview postcard from Flytographer two days later which included a great teaser shot from our shoot. The link to the final images arrived in my email a few days later.

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 We even got a few quick single shots during our Flytographer session

Flytographer sessions start at $250. You can check out their packages here.

I am so grateful to have such lifelong girlfriends who were game for this. We had an amazing Flytographer experience, and it was worth every penny. These photos will make me happy for many years to come, and I think my BFFs feel the same way. Katie is even thinking about booking a Flytographer session for her holiday cards.

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Love this shot from Tanner Springs Park

I never regret making time to get together with my girlfriends. We laughed non-stop and agreed we need to do trips like this more often. Flytographer’s mini-photo sessions are a great way to get memorable souvenirs from your next holiday or vacation. Since Flytographer also offers prints, I’m pretty sure Katie and Zan know what they are getting for Christmas this year. I’ve had such a great Flytographer experience I am officially a fan of the brand.

Flytographer

Address: 330 – 517 Fort Street, Victoria BC Canada V8W 1E7
Office hours: 9am-5pm Pacific Time
Phone:  1 (888) 211-7178

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Our Portland photographer was Whitney.

 

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Restaurant Review: El Jefe at the Saguaro in Palm Springs

El Jefe has excellent tacos & tequila

On our girls weekend in the desert, we decided to head to The Saguaro in Palm Springs on Saturday night. I’m a fan of the margaritas at El Jefe and we thought that tacos and tequila sounded like a good time.

The drinks were great, and the small plates were delicious and inexpensive. None of us were adventurous enough to try out the cabrito (goat) or lengua (tongue) tacos, we all enjoyed the others versions. The pescado (fish) tacos were crispy and delicious, the carnitas tacos came with smoky black beans and pineapple-habenero salsa.

Elisa singing, Claire dancing, and Erina prepping to play some mean ping-pong

Our group ordered a few ceviches which were well received. The skirt steak nachos were slow to arrive but tasty ($11). The queso fundido- made with duck confit barbicoa and poblano chile was a real standout, with the cheese not overly oily ($12). Tacos (3 small tacos per order) cost between $7-$9.

Smartflyer lovlies Erina, Lauren and Claire

The margaritas were a big hit with the ladies of Smartflyer as well. The pineapple and watermelon margaritas were popular with our group. Cantina margaritas (the house standard) ran $10, with the fruit-infused versions cost $12.

Smartflyer girls Erina Pindar and Lauren Saiger Machowsky get their ping-pong on

The food and drinks at El Jefe aren’t the only reason to head to The Saguaro Palm Springs. The hotel is adored by millennials for it’s happening pool scene and outdoor movie screenings– Uncle Buck was showing the night we were there.

Erina and Lauren played table tennis in the Saguaro’s technicolor lobby

El Jefe also has good live music… and all of us are music fans. Chad Gregory was performing the night we were there and he was great. His original stuff was enjoyable and he also does a great cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Chad is also a nice guy. When he found out Elisa Chacon could sing, he invited her to perform a song with him.

Chad & Elisa prepping at the mic. Not only is Elisa sweet and beautiful, but she has some seriously killer pipes

Elisa is smart and lovely and and has asurprisingly soulful and powerful voice. During her performance, some diners at El Jefe asked us, “is she famous?”

The Live music at El Jefe was very enjoyable, and Elisa was a huge crowd pleaser

We had such a good time at El Jefe, I’m pretty sure I have to stay at The Saguaro next time I’m in Palm Springs. I’m very curious to try Tinto, the Saguaro’s other restaurant with cuisine by Iron Chef Jose Garces. Tinto also was mentioned by Chef Chris Mitchum at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells when I asked him what restaurants in the area he liked.

Good margaritas & tasty tacos at El Jefe

The patio at Tinto and the outdoor movie screen at The Saguaro

The Saguaro uses  bold color choices

Saturday night pool scene at the Saguaro Palm Springs

You can check out a calendar of upcoming events at The Saguaro Palm Springs on their Tumblr blog or see more on their Instagram account @thesaguarops

The Saguaro Palm Springs

1800 East Palm Canyon Drive

Palm Springs, CA 92264

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