17 posts tagged travel
With summer approaching, we are excited to be vacationing in sunny California in a couple of weeks (Los Angeles and Anaheim to be exact)! We wanted to take the opportunity to attend the “Anime Expo”, the largest anime, manga and Japanese culture convention in North America! Of course, as big Disney fans, we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Disneyland while we’re there too!
I’ve loved connecting with other crochet and amigurumi enthusiasts since starting my blog, and one person whom I greatly admire and have loved getting to know is Josephine of “A Morning Cup of Jo Creations”! She lives in the Los Angeles area, and I thought it would be neat to finally meet her in person! We thought it would be a great opportunity to host a meet up while we’re both in Los Angeles in case others would be interested in joining us too :)
And so, if you live in the Los Angeles area or will be visiting Los Angeles on Sunday, July 6th, we would love to meet you! Please fill out the google form HERE so we can gauge how many people are interested. Once we know our numbers, we will pick an exact time and location and e-mail the details to the people who have filled out the form. Since we’re all crafters, we were thinking of making pins that we could exchange with one another at the event- sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
If you have any suggestions of places to visit and eat I would greatly appreciate it too (you can leave a comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org)! I’ve been so busy with the blog redesign that I really need to sit down and research what to do and where to go on our California vacation :)
I hope to be able to meet some of you in person next month! We are really looking forward to it!
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 :)
- Aston Maui Hill (Kihei): great location, spacious unit with fully-equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, perfect for families
- Hana Kai Maui (Hana): amazing views, great location; pricey though (anything decent in Hana is quite pricey, but it’s more worth it if you’re staying with a large family)
- Haleakala Crater: beautiful at sunrise (very cold with extreme winds so be prepared)
- Maui Ocean Center: great exhibits and talks by naturalists; shark tank and underwater tunnel
- Iao Valley State Park: easy, short hike with beautiful views
- Maui Swap Meet: open every Saturday morning 7 AM - 1 PM with many vendors and handcrafted godos
- Warren & Annabelle’s Magic: great sleight-of-hand magic and comedy show
- Road to Hana (Nahiku, Black Sand Beach, Venus Pool, Seven Sacred Pools, Pipiwai Trail leading to Waimoku Falls)
- Ululuani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice: soft, fluffy ice with incredible syrups and flavours
- Hula Cookies: make your own ice cream sandwiches
- Maui Specialty Chocolates: delicious peanut butter milk chocolate and dark chocolate truffle mochi
- Spam Musubi: tasty Hawaiian delicacy that can be found in many shops
- Mama’s Fish House: wonderful Hawaiian ambiance, great service, fresh fish but pricey entrees
- Sansei Restaurant: great panko-crusted ahi tuna rolls, shrimp dynamite; get 25% off bill if you arrive before 6 PM at Kihei location
- Koiso: deliciously fresh sushi; only sits 14 people so you need to make a reservation; the omakase offers a great variety
- Kihei Cafe: great breakfast place
- Paia Fish Market: the best seafood pasta and delicious fish and chips
- 808 Deli: great sandwiches and potato mac salad
- Da Kitchen: Hawaiian-style home cooking with very big dishes; Kalbi ribs and shredded pork were delicious
- McDonald’s: don’t laugh! They have special local deluxe breakfasts consisting of Portuguese sausages, spam, eggs and rice! They also have taro pies which are very unique!
- Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop: sweet and savoury pies; macnut chocolate praline pie was awesome
- Thai Food by Pranee (Hana): amazingly delicious Thai food with very good prices (limited opening hours so check ahead); a great place to eat after the long Pipiwai Trail Hike (there are very limited food options in Hana)
“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 :)
We’re back, everyone!!! Did you miss us? We had a lovely time in Maui and we got to revisit our favourite banyan tree….this time with our little Myla bear (who is strapped onto me in the baby carrier in the photo)! I will be putting together a blog post showing some of the highlights from our trip including where we ate, what we did and where we stayed in case anyone is planning an upcoming trip to Maui! Ryan took some gorgeous photos and I can’t wait to share them with you all :)
Be back soon! We are off vacationing in one of our favourite places in the world where the banyan trees are plentiful. This is one of my favourite travel photos from two years ago when we did the most beautiful hike ever (that’s me sitting on the tree in case you’re wondering :D)! Can’t wait to go back!
We are back from our trip to Disney World, and we had an absolutely fabulous time! We used to visit the Disney parks quite frequently when I was younger, and it was very special going with my parents and brother once again, but this time with a new addition to our family: little Myla! I thought I would share some photos from our trip taken by Ryan…
The Magic Kingdom is still my favourite park :) I love strolling down Main Street as Cinderella’s Castle unfolds before you! Myla was surprisingly allowed to go on many rides, particularly in Fantasyland. Her favourite ride was “It’s A Small World”- it was so cute seeing her eyes light up and dart around as she saw all the little colourful dolls representing different countries around the world moving and singing!
I was really excited to dine at “Be Our Guest" in the Beast’s Castle in New Fantasyland. Making reservations was really difficult, but I managed to find an opening for an early dinner at 4:45! We dined in the ballroom where Belle and the Beast danced, and it was beautiful! All the detail were amazing, and we got to take pictures with the Beast at the end of our meal :)
Epcot is my second favourite park as I love the different countries represented in the World Showcase, and “The Land" has one of my favourite rides: "Soarin’”! It just so happened that we caught the tail end of the “Flower & Garden Festival” at Epcot, so there were many beautiful topiary displays throughout the park. You can see Mickey and his friends in the pic above!
Another gorgeous display at Epcot!
On our first night at Epcot we dined at the UK’s “Rose & Crown" restaurant which has a spectacular patio view of Epcot’s night time show, "IllumiNations”. It was awesome being able to sit down and enjoy the displays and fireworks as we were finishing up dessert!
The Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom! Love the lushness captured in this pic :) One of my faves in this park is the “Finding Nemo" musical…we were singing some of the songs long after the show ended!
One of the cool things we saw at the Animal Kingdom was this plant lady! At first she was camouflaged as she lay on the wall with her face turning the other way….but then she started to gracefully move and walk away! It was a very neat sight :) We didn’t take too many photos at the fourth park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but I really enjoyed the American Idol Experience (the winner that night sounded just like Beyoncé) and the updated Star Tours ride since Ryan and I are big Star Wars fans too!
Since Myla was born in the Canadian fall/winter, this trip was the first time she was able to wear summer clothes! It was fun bringing out the summer dresses, rompers and hats! Here are some photos of our little cutie each morning before we hit the parks…
I was a little bit worried about how Myla would do on this trip as it was her first long trip out of the country. She did amazingly well, and of course it also helped that my parents and brother were there to help out! We knew that this Disney trip would be very different from all our previous Disney trips since we were traveling with a baby. We took a very relaxed pace as we followed her schedule, stopping to nurse and change her diaper whenever needed and working around her naps. Disney was great as they had Baby Care Centers that were air conditioned places to nurse, change diapers and just rest in each park. Their “Baby Swap”’ program was helpful as we didn’t need to line up twice for rides that Myla wasn’t allowed on (you can read more about this here).
My parents bought Myla this adorable Minnie Mouse dress and we bought her a Minnie Mouse headband to match! It’s cute because the ears are actually adult-sized, but the proportions looked so cute on Myla! She loved wearing those big Minnie ears :) We went around the Magic Kingdom and took some pics on our last day to commemorate her first Disney experience!
Sitting down by Cinderella’s Fountain
Myla was pretty popular around the park as she was getting a lot of smiles and “aww’s” from people….it was cute because many young children came up to her and said hi too! They loved this little Minnie Mouse!
All smiles in front of the castle!
Finally a family pic with Ryan in it!
Of course, Myla’s first Disney experience wouldn’t be complete without meeting Mickey Mouse! She even gave him a big kiss :)
My parents also bought Myla the classic Minnie Mouse Ears hat and got her name embroidered on it! Years ago, my parents bought me a similar hat and had my name embroidered on it….how time flies! There is so much nostalgia and fond memories whenever we visit Disney…
We had to add a little amigurumi in this Disney post! Ryan spotted these knitted Mickey’s in a gift store- how cute are they?
Hope you enjoyed this little recap of some of the things we did on our trip! Myla was a great little traveler, and we are so thankful that we could all travel as a family. I missed crocheting, and I can’t wait to share some more crochet projects with you all in the coming weeks!
Why is Myla dressed as Minnie Mouse you ask? It’s BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!! As you all know, we are huge Disney fans, and I’ve been visiting the Disney parks ever since I was a little girl…I can’t believe that I get to take my own little girl now! There is something so nostalgic and classic about Disney. I love how some rides never change, but there are also new areas and attractions, such as “New Fantasyland”, and we even have dinner reservations at the “Be Our Guest" restaurant in the Beast’s Castle (which were very hard to come by)! Have any of you visited this new area yet?
And so, the blog will be quiet for the next while. I’ll try and post updates about our trip on my Instagram (@AllAboutAmi) and Twitter (@AllAboutAmi)! If any of you have upcoming Disney trips too, you can crochet your own Minnie Mouse Ears with my tutorial HERE! See you later, everyone :)
We went to Vancouver for a couple days last week and I made these “Granny Stripe Headbands" as gifts! Aren’t they pretty, especially with the layered flowers as embellishments? Working on these granny stripes reminded me of the "Granny Square Blanket" that I had so much fun making for Myla last summer :) You can find the free pattern for the headband HERE on “Tangled Happy”. I absolutely adore this free flower pattern HERE, and it’s a great way to dress up a hat or headband!
I’ve traveled to Vancouver many times throughout the years as I have family who live there. This, however, was Myla’s first trip and I was a bit nervous… She did very well on the flight though!
I thought I would share about some of the delicious food we ate in Vancouver! Ryan and I always LOVE stopping by the food court at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond for some of our favourite dishes, so we went as soon as we arrived. The crispy chicken wings are incredibly flavourful and piping hot as they make them fresh each time- we saw many tables enjoying this dish. The Hainanese Chicken is so moist, tender and delicious with the special rice. We always get these two dishes whenever we visit this food court!
We love shaved ice, and I am so happy we decided to try out “Frappé Bliss” (also in the Aberdeen Centre food court) that specializes in Taiwanese shaved ice! The first time we went we customized our own dessert with milk shaved ice, coconut milk, condensed milk, and rice balls. This was sooo good and it was my favourite dessert of the whole trip! We went back towards the end of our trip and ordered “The Garden of Eden”, consisting of mango shaved ice, mango ice cream, strawberries, kiwi and mango. This shaved ice is especially delicious because the ice itself is flavoured (without adding extra syrup or flavouring) and so finely shaved that it is very light and fluffy!
We always stop by Daiso when we visit Aberdeen Centre as well. I stocked up on cute packaging as I love giving away crocheted goodies in these adorable bags :)
That night our friends took us to “Sushi California" for some well-priced, delicious sushi! Look at how thick those slices of sashimi are! Vancouver never disappoints with its variety and freshness of sushi!
The next day we went for afternoon tea at the “Truffles Café" in the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. I looove going for high tea as it’s always such an elegant affair. The sandwiches were delicious and the view was lovely- I imagine this place would be very popular in the Spring and the Summer when the flowers and trees are all in bloom!
In the evening we went to “Sura" for some delicious Korean dishes! This was some of the best Korean food I’ve ever had, and the decor inside was beautiful. The chab-che and grilled beef were sooo yummy…
For lunch the following day our friends took us to a little French place called “Salade de Fruits”. It reminded me soo much of the French restaurants we visited in Paris last year! The waiters, waitresses and much of their clientele were all speaking French, so we knew this place was very authentic! I had their mussels and fries and they were very tasty. As you can see, there were generous portions as well!
After lunch we took a stroll towards Granville Island. Vancouver is known to be quite rainy, but we are very thankful that it was sunny and clear for most of our stay!
We enjoyed this beautiful view with our strollers :)
We ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant called “Sandbar" on Granville Island, and it was situated under the Granville Bridge! I had the most delicious ahi tuna that I’ve ever tasted, but I didn’t get a picture of it unfortunately…Myla started crying so we had to eat quickly!
The next day we visited “Bella Gelateria" for their world-famous gelato! I had the salted caramel gelato. I wore this beautiful cape sweater that I bought the first day we arrived in Aberdeen Centre- I really love its beautiful pattern and design! It also pairs very nicely with my Momzelle nursing tank that I blogged about here!
For our last meal before we headed to the airport, our friends took us to “La Brasserie" for oysters! They were so fresh and tasty….I knew I wanted to eat oysters on this trip, and this definitely hit the spot! The Brasserie Burger that I ordered was also very good :)
Here are some other shots that Ryan took of beautiful Vancouver…
Vancouver Convention Centre
Granville Bridge (Ryan calls this photo “Daddy Long Legs" ;P)
Seagulls on Granville Island
Waterfront SkyTrain Station
We are so thankful to our good friends in Vancouver who brought us to all these wonderful food spots! They are big foodies and are always in the know of new restaurants popping up in their diverse city. Our friends have babies as well, so most of these restaurants were stroller and baby-friendly (“Salade de Fruits" and "La Brasserie" were the only ones that didn’t fit our strollers since they were smaller establishments). We had a great little trip to Vancouver full of good food and wonderful company :) Vancouverites, have you been to any of these places? What are your favourite food spots?
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!
The blog will be quiet for a while as we travel to Tokyo, Japan! Thank you so much to everyone who gave such thoughtful tips and recommendations for our trip! Hopefully we’ll be able to get lots of inspiration for future projects, and we can’t wait to share our adventures with you when we get back :)
Hey everyone! Guess where our travels are taking us next? To JAPAN, the Land of the Rising Sun and where amigurumi originated! We are incredibly excited as we will be leaving soon! We will spend most of our time in Tokyo :) Does anyone have recommendations on good places to eat and visit? I would LOVE to get some tips from you and hear about some of your favourite places! I would greatly appreciate it if you left a comment here, tweeted me or sent me an e-mail at email@example.com! Thank you so much :)