Two years ago we visited Maui and absolutely fell in love with the Hawaiian island and vowed to return! The amazing scenery, delicious food, laid back atmosphere and friendly people made our first trip very special and memorable. We decided to return again this year, this time with our little toddler Myla and the rest of my family!
We revisited some of our favourite spots and restaurants but also discovered some new places as well. Whenever we go on trips, I love doing lots of research to see where to get the best food and what the most popular attractions are! I thought I would write up a blog post summarizing what we did in case anyone will be traveling or is interested in traveling to Maui! I always love living vicariously through other people’s travel photos as well ;)
On our first visit two years ago, we drove up to the Haleakala Crater to watch the sunrise. This meant waking up around 3 AM and starting to drive at 4 AM to make it in time…however, since there is a couple hours time difference between Maui and where we live, this wasn’t actually too bad since we did this the day after we arrived. Watching the sunrise was absolutely breathtaking and one of the most beautiful sights that I’ve seen. We revisited the crater on this trip but during the afternoon. Your view really depends on the weather and it was quite cloudy when we went. It was neat driving up through the clouds though! Also be warned that it is quite chilly up there as you are at over 9700 feet elevation- we wore every single layer that we brought!
I was very excited to visit the “Maui Swap Meet" which occurs every Saturday morning from 7 AM to 1 PM! I was delighted to see tons of vendors when we pulled up to the market- however, we ended up getting rained out as vendors started packing up within an hour when we arrived as their products were getting soaked. I was sad that we did not get to see everything, but we also found a tiny little craft market beside a McDonald’s that we visited that had plenty of jewelry and dresses for a very affordable price. Myla enjoyed walking around and shopping for herself as you can see in the picture above!
Whenever I am on vacation, I love collecting bracelets to add to my collection! I adore these two peach colour bracelets I got- I think the mini tassels and “love” are so cute! I also really like the bracelet that I bought by "Indies Attic" (my only buy from the Maui Swap Meet) and it’s special because it’s made from recycled paper! Also, a portion of their proceeds goes to help children in Uganda, and their tagline is "People Before Profit”! What an amazing company :)
We also decided to visit the “Maui Ocean Center" because Myla LOVES animals! It was smaller than we expected but we enjoyed the exhibits and we found the talks by the naturalists working there particularly interesting and educational. Myla was totally unfazed by the sharks and enjoyed watching them swim around!
After visiting the Maui Ocean Center, we dropped into the nearby “Hula Cookies” for their famous ice cream sandwiches! You get to choose which ice cream flavour and which cookies you would like (you can even choose different flavour cookies for each side). The cookies were so gooey and soft- it was the perfect afternoon snack and we wished we had gone again!
Our all-time favourite snack/dessert in Maui is from “Ululani’s Shave Ice”! They have the BEST shave ice as it is pillowy soft and their flavours/syrups are amazing. My favourite combination is the “Haleakala" as it is made of coconut and leche topped with sweetened condensed milk and cream. I always add mochi on the top too! I could not wait to eat this again as I had been missing it from two years ago….we went almost every single day to get shave ice and made good use of their stamp card!
Some other treats we discovered on this trip were the delicious mochi from “Maui Specialty Chocolates”. The mochi itself is so soft and chewy and their flavours such as “Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate" and "Dark Chocolate Truffle" are delicious. I am a big mochi fan so I was very excited to try them and I was not disappointed! Another popular Hawaiian delicacy is "Spam Musubi" (spam and sushi rice wrapped in seaweed). It can be found in many little shops and stores (we got ours mostly from the ABC Stores) and it makes a tasty little snack! I also found a great recipe for it here and I can’t wait to make it at home :)
Here is a family picture of us outside a popular restaurant called “Mama’s Fish House”! The ambiance and location are amazing as it gives you the quintessential Hawaiian experience. The service was wonderful and the fish was fresh although the entrees are pricey!
We spent some time walking around a hippie surfer town called Paia. There were some quaint shops and a delicious lunch spot called “Paia Fish Market" which has our favourite seafood pasta. We also lay on the beach and watched the surfers brave the waves and also got to see some really cute sea turtles!
Myla really enjoyed playing in the sand with her shovel and sand toys. Here she is with her Uncle Corey, digging right into the soft sand of Makena Beach!
Another popular area with many oceanfront stores is Lahaina, which used to be a whaling town (one of these times we’d like to go on a whale watching tour)! Two years ago we went to a highly rated and very popular magic show called “Warren & Annabelle’s" and got to see Warren himself perform his sleight-of-hand magic and comedy. We absolutely loved it and highly recommend it! We did not go this time but the rest of my family went and thoroughly enjoyed it (you need to be over 21 to attend because of the liquor laws).
We also found a delightful restaurant called “Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop" that is famous for their sandwiches and pies! Here you can see Myla picking out exactly which pie she wanted to try :) We really liked their "Macnut Chocolate Praline Pie" for dessert as it was divine!
We visited the “Iao Valley State Park" and soaked in the beautiful views with their very short, easy hike. For us, it was a warm up for the long hike to come shortly after!
One of the most memorable things we did from two years ago was “The Road to Hana”. The Road to Hana is a long, narrow and winding road that takes you through the rain forests of Maui. Along the way, there are many breath-taking views of the coast, forests and waterfalls. Ryan and I were hesitant and worried about what it would be like with a toddler but overall it went well and I am so thankful that we were traveling with the rest of my family on this trip as they could entertain her! We stopped off at “Nahiku" which offers the most stunning views of the coast!
We also stopped off at the “Black Sand Beach”- the sand is actually made of small, smooth lava pebbles!
On our last full day in Maui we did the hike that we were most looking forward to out of the whole trip: the “Pipiwai Trail”! It is an amazing 4 mile hike (2 miles there, 2 miles back) that takes you through some stunning scenery. I was worried what this hike would be like with a toddler too- I strapped Myla to me in a baby carrier and she was asleep for most of the first half. It was exhausting and grueling for me though as going uphill seemed so much more difficult with the extra weight I was carrying. I actually seriously doubted whether I would make it and was contemplating turning back….
However, I kept pushing myself and just went slowly, taking frequent water breaks. I am so glad we persevered as we did not want to miss out on the beautiful sights! Two years ago we took one of my favourite travel photos sitting atop a gorgeous banyan tree that can be found along the hike. It was neat seeing it again, and this time I got to take pics with our little (sleeping) Myla too!
For those of you wondering, we use the Ergo baby carrier and we love it! It is very comfortable to use as it has a lot of padding and cushioning with multiple carry positions available (front, back and hip). We were very glad we used our Ergo on these hikes!
Myla woke up just as we were entering the beautiful bamboo forest! This is one of my favourite parts of the hike as it is calmly serene as you can hear the bamboo hitting against each other as the wind blows. Myla wanted to walk a bit too so we took her out of the carrier and let her walk along the wooden planks! She got many friendly smiles from fellow travelers who were surprised to see such a young hiker make it that far :)
At the end of the Pipiwai Trail you are rewarded with this amazing site: the stunning 400 feet Waimoku Falls! It is breathtaking when you first see it and it makes the whole hike worthwhile. We took a little snack break here and soaked in the scenery before embarking on the journey back!
We decided to stay a couple nights in Hana so that we could take our time and not have to rush back to the other side of the island. We stayed at the “Hana Kai Maui" which is the most beautiful place that we’ve ever stayed in. I was completely taken aback when I first walked into their flagship unit (the "Ka’ahumanu") as I had never before stayed in a suite with such stunning views and panoramic windows. You could hear the waves lapping onto the beach since we were so close to the ocean and it was amazing being able to fall asleep and wake up to the sound of the waves.
The views from our balconies were spectacular!
We were so sad to leave this place and drive back to the airport. Maui is such a beautiful, family-friendly island with so many things to discover! We had a great family vacation and we cannot wait to return in the future- we hope you enjoyed seeing our photos and what we did! I will do a quick summary below in case anyone is planning a visit :)
“Maui Revealed" is a wonderful guidebook for the island as it details many stops along the "Road to Hana" and gives very useful information in a humorous tone! You can pick this book up at a great price at the Costco in Maui (also a great place to stock up on snacks, groceries, water gear and ahi tuna!).
Please let me know if you’ve been to Maui and if you have any recommendations for us during our next trip there! I love sharing experiences and swapping stories! Mahalo and Aloha :)
Congratulations to Dominique who is the big WINNER of my 3 Year Blogiversary Giveaway! Thank you so much to everyone who scoured the archives of my blog and participated- it’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed the hunt, read some of my old posts, and discovered some new projects and pages along the way! I really appreciate everyone’s kind e-mails filled with so much encouragement and support :)
In case you were wondering, here are the answers to the giveaway questions:
1) What was my very first original amigurumi design? Chinese New Year Doll (“Jigglypuff" was the first amigurumi I blogged about it, but I was following Wolfdreamer’s pattern. "Cupcake Bear" was modeled after "Amigurumi Kingdom’s" work and I never blogged about the pattern. "Chinese New Year Doll" was the first amigurumi we designed from scratch as we made a sketch of her, figured out her parts and wrote and released the full pattern for her. It’s listed as my first original amigurumi creation under my "Patterns" page!)
(2) What was the title of my very first blog post? "And so it begins…"
(3) About how old was I when I first started crocheting? 10 years old
(4) What size crochet hook do I like to use for most of my amigurumi? 2 mm
(5) In the “Amigurumi & Crochet Blog Directory” that I compiled, how many blogs are from South America? Seven
BONUS: What is my favourite video game? The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (I loved making my “Link” amigurumi and designing his Hylian shield, and I stated that this was my favourite game in the “Animethon 2013” post!)
Many people answered all of the above questions correctly including the bonus- thank you so much for following and supporting my blog, and for being so attentive! Congrats again to Dominique and stay tuned this week for another giveaway and a project that I had a lot of fun working on!
[GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Congrats to the winner, Anna S. of “Spool of Sunshine”!]
Hey everyone! I ordered this super cute “Keep Calm and Carry Yarn" pendant on Etsy recently and had to share it with you since I know we are all yarn lovers!!! Click on the pictures to get a better view of it- there’s a ball of yarn on top and it’s a beautiful fuscia colour! I ordered it from a fellow Canadian named Lisa who makes many different pendants using wooden Scrabble tiles in her shop called "Pieces of Me Pendants”. I thought this pendant was really cute since the “Keep Calm” meme is so popular these days and the “Carry Yarn” is a clever take on the “Carry On”!
The good news is that Lisa offered to do a GIVEAWAY for my readers too! She is allowing the winner to choose any pendant and any chain from her shop (I am wearing the snake chain for those of you interested)!!!
Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada and I wanted to share how thankful I am to God for my family, my friends, my church family and the opportunity and blessing to be a wife and a mother. Our little girl is turning 1 this week and the year has absolutely flown by! I am so very thankful that I was able to pursue my creative and crafty side after putting it on the back burner for so many years when I was super busy with school. Sometimes it is still surreal to me that I have a blog and that I’m crocheting little stuffed animals and sharing my work with the world (stay tuned for some new amigurumi coming your way soon)! I am so incredibly thankful to you, my readers, for always expressing how appreciative you are and giving us so much feedback about our work. It really does spur us on and we love reading all your comments and seeing your work! I have made many good friends along the way (you know who you are :D) and it’s been amazing connecting with people with similar passions and interests! I have so many loyal readers who have followed me throughout the years and have seen my style and blogging progress. Every time I hit a milestone on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Instagram I’m always itching to do a giveaway to thank my followers, so here we go!
To enter the GIVEAWAY [NOW CLOSED]:
(1) Leave a comment below (through Disqus comments) saying what YOU are THANKFUL for! I can’t wait to read the entries and share the love :)
(2) Visit Lisa’s “Pieces of Me Pendants" shop on Etsy HERE and take a look at her different pendants and chains (snake, ball or box chains) available. In the same comment above state what pendant and chain you would choose if you are the winner!
This contest is open worldwide and will close on Sunday, October 20th at 8 PM, MST. If you are under 18, please ask your parents’ permission before entering. I will randomly choose a winner! Thank you so much to Lisa for partnering with me in this giveaway!
While looking for a good bib pattern on Ravelry (see the ones I ended up crocheting for Myla here), I stumbled upon a free pattern for a beautiful ruffled crochet bib necklace by Stefanie of “A Common Thread”. I absolutely love jewelry and all things ruffly, delicate and dainty, so I was thrilled by the idea of crocheting my own necklace! I love using Patons Grace yarn as the soft mercerized cotton gives a very lustrous finish- I’ve built up quite the collection of colours :) I opted for this cream colour since I wanted my layers to look like delicate lace!
First I crocheted a series of chain stitches. Since I was using thinner yarn, I used my trusty 2 mm crochet hook!
Then a row of double crochets!
Next up it was time to start making the loops!
Then more loops were added! I love the look of these ladylike ruffles :)
Here are the three crocheted layers, each with a varying amount of beginning stitches so that they are all different sizes!
Once they are all complete, it is time to layer them ontop of each other! The loops are staggered to give this beautiful textured look :)
After securing the layers together, this is how the back looks:
Next up, hardware time! I went to Michaels to pick up these rose gold chains, clasps and jumprings!
Attaching the jump rings to the crocheted piece! In total, I used four jump rings- two to attach the crocheted piece to the chain and two to attach the chain to the clasp.
Here is the finished necklace! Isn’t it beautiful?
I was very excited to try on my very first crocheted necklace :)
This statement necklace adds so much interest to a simple t-shirt and outfit!
I am so happy with how my necklace turned out, and I can’t wait to pair it with more outfits! If you would like to make your own beautiful Ruffled Crochet Bib Necklace, check out the free pattern on “A Common Thread" HERE! Have you ever tried crocheting your own jewelry before? It’s so special being able to wear crocheted pieces that you’ve made yourself (e.g. hats, scarves, and now jewelry!), and I am excited to crochet more jewelry pieces in the future!
Over the course of my blogging journey, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with many of you from different countries. Some of you have offered to give us tours of your hometowns should we ever visit, and we hope one day to take you up on your offers! As I blogged about here, Kay is one of these dear friends who I have been able to connect with. She is a fellow crafter, crocheter, mama and sister in Christ, and her Etsy store “Mikaylove" has really taken off. I was so honoured when Kay said she wanted to name one of her pieces after me. She saw that I loved wearing my mint green and peach bracelets together, so she decided to use my favourite colour combo for this necklace and named it “The Stephanie Necklace”!
I teared up when I saw Kay posted this beautiful necklace named after me on Instagram. I believe in God’s perfect timing, and I felt so encouraged as I saw this at the beginning of a very long, rough night last week in which I barely slept at all (I’m sure other mamas out there can relate!). Thank you, Kay, for your incredibly kind and encouraging words, and I am so thankful for your friendship! You can read more about “The Stephanie Necklace" here in the Mikaylove shop! Kay is very active on Instagram (@Mikayloveinc), and if you follow her, you’ll get the inside scoop on her promotions and coupon codes and see how different people style their Mikaylove pieces. I appreciate everyone’s support and prayers so much :) We are truly grateful for the friends we’ve made around the world through this blog!
Thanks for participating in our giveaway, everyone :) It’s been wonderful seeing the warm response to Kay’s beautiful pieces, and it’s neat that many of you have placed Mikaylove orders too! I’m happy to hear that you all enjoyed reading our story, and I really appreciate the encouraging and supportive comments that many of you left! Without further ado, here are the winners!
Blog comments: Alycia of “The Curious Pug" will be winning a Chevron Bracelet in Cream
Facebook: Amanda Girão will be winning an Ethereal Bracelet in Mulberry Petite
Tumblr: “Lovableelesliee" will be winning a Chevron Bracelet in Mint Green
I will get into contact with each of you, but if for some reason you do not get my messages, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can arrange for you to receive your jewelry! Once again, I want to thank Kay for her generousity and for partnering with me in this awesome giveaway! Visit the Mikaylove store HERE and follow Mikaylove on instagram (@Mikayloveinc) to see sneak peeks of future collections that Kay is dreaming up :)
I still very vividly remember back in March 2011 when I received an e-mail from a blog reader named Kay. I had just started my blog two months prior in January and not very many people knew about my work. Kay said that she had found my Valentine Teddy pattern and had made her very own! This was the very first time someone had sent me pictures of their work using my pattern, and I was so incredibly excited. I had spent hours writing up my patterns (there were only two at the time) and figuring out my designs, so to know that someone was using it somewhere in the world was incredibly special! You can see Kay’s Valentine Teddy here.
Kay started her own blog called “I’m Hooked" and I loved perusing it as she posted adorable pics of her popsicle keychains, mini wallets/pouches, and all the lovely items she made for her baby girl (what a shoe collection!). What really caught my eye was her cute amigurumi penguin pattern that she had translated HERE. It was my first time crocheting with two colours at the same time, and I absolutely loved how this cutie turned out! You can read Penguin’s step-by-step blog post here. I think this little penguin would make an adorable Christmas ornament, don’t you?
Kay and I kept in touch, and I am so thankful for her love, support and prayers for our family. We are now both moms to beautiful baby girls! She even sent us a package full of goodies for baby Myla- this really brightened up my day and lifted my spirits as the first few weeks coming home from the hospital were challenging at times. Her thoughtfulness and generosity blew me away!
As we were messaging each other, Kay revealed how she had started her blog when she was pregnant and a bit lonesome. Kay wrote,
"It was your pattern that got people to even look at my page and from there I gained an audience that was interested in my work and most importantly, me. And even though I no longer blog, I will be forever grateful of the amigurumi bear pattern that changed my life. So, thank you!"
This brought me to tears, knowing how much of an impact my blog could have on someone. I’ve received at least a half dozen e-mails from people all stating that they’ve been inspired to start their own blogs after seeing “All About Ami”, and I’m always so overjoyed to hear this. God has given me this platform to express and share my creativity and love of crochet with others, and I am so happy to hear that it has impacted others in such a positive way!
Even though Kay no longer blogs, she too has found a way to do what she loves and share it with others through her Etsy store called “Mikaylove" that she has just launched. Mikaylove is derived from her daughter’s name “Mikayla”, and as a stay at home mom, Kay was inspired by her love for her baby girl to create a handcrafted jewelry line that would appeal and be affordable to all audiences. Kay sent me some of her pieces and I immediately fell in love with their elegant and classy designs. I liked them so much that I ordered some more for myself and my family!
Kay’s classic designs go well with any outfit and you can definitely dress them up or dress them down! I looove stacking bracelets to add interest to my outfits….can you ever have enough bracelets?
I ordered the stunning “Mikaylove Original Design Necklace in Turquoise & Grey" for myself since I love the colour combo and bib necklaces are so popular right now! Isn’t it gorgeous?
I also ordered the “Double Wrap Bracelet in Mint Green" since I love this colour. I think peach and mint green go so well together!
The little “Mikaylove” tag of authenticity on each piece is very cute too :)
I think that all of the Mikaylove pieces are affordable, with prices comparable to those found in retail chain stores, except these pieces are all handmade! I am all for supporting handmade artisans and moms who are working from home. Kay has many different pieces available in a vast array of colours (see pic below for more of her designs). Please check out her store HERE to see her collections! You can also find Mikaylove on tumblr HERE and on instagram (@Mikayloveinc).
Kay has been generous enough to offer THREE GIVEAWAYS for my readers! In order to enter, please visit the Mikaylove Etsy store HERE and select your FAVOURITE PIECE. There are three ways to enter (one winner will receive their selected favourite piece from each of the following groups):
(1) Blog comments: Leave a comment on this blog post, stating your favourite piece (e.g. “I love the Cross Weave Bracelet in Cream”). One comment per person please.
(2) Facebook: Leave a comment on the Facebook link to this post stating your favourite piece (click HERE to access the “All About Ami” Facebook page). Like and Share the post (be sure to change the share settings to “Public” so I can see it) for additional entries.
(3) Tumblr: "Like" this post and reply with what your favourite piece is. Reblog this post for an additional entry (only once please). Tumblr winner must be a follower of BOTH “All About Ami" and "MIKAYLOVEINC" on tumblr HERE.
You may enter all three ways! If you are under 18, please ask your parents’ permission before entering. The contest is open worldwide and will run until Wednesday, December 5 at 9 PM, MST. Winners will be announced on Friday, December 7.
Thank you so much for all your support and warm wishes in response to our exciting news, everyone :) Ryan and I feel incredibly blessed and loved by you all!
I wanted to share these pics I snapped on my iPhone while vacationing in Tokyo! I was excited to see these cute little amigurumi teddies holding crochet letters on the very first day while exploring Ginza! It’s such a great idea to personalize your teddies, especially for gifts. They also had crochet letters and hearts attached to scrunchies for you to wear in your hair!
The next day I found these beautiful necklaces in a jewelry store in Harajuku. I love the incorporation of crochet into jewelry by crocheting around beads and hoops to add some wonderful texture. I just might have to try this out in the future!