All Posts By

Karissa Devore

Travel

Travel Diaries: Hawaii Pt. 2- 72 Hours in Maui

The flight from Oahu to Maui is a quick jump- barely enough time for the flight attendants to make it down the aisle with a tray of little foil-topped plastic cups filled with guava juice or water between takeoff and landing.

When I travel I like to plan for one big activity each day and leave the rest of the day unstructured. I’ve found this leaves plenty of time for exploration, spontaneous activities and reading books on the beach while also making sure I don’t look back on the trip and wish I had seen/done x, y, whatever. Something to keep in mind when visiting the Hawaiian islands in particular is that traffic during rush hour can be a real nightmare, so it’s never a bad idea to wrap up your excursions in time to spend the afternoon in the sand rather than on the roads.

For 3 days in Maui I would recommend:
1. Nakalele Point & Blowhole
2. Maui Tropical Plantation
3. Ocean Kayaking
4*. Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

Nakalele Point is a super cool spot. You can walk down an easy trail to see the Blowhole, a natural hole in the rock that spouts water every few moments as the waves crash against the shore. Be sure not to get too close, as this very professional looking sign will remind you…

Don’t stop there, if you continue down the shoreline you’ll find beautiful views, tide pools and you may even see some sea turtles swimming around in the clear blue water!

Along the road to/from the blowhole you will see locals selling fruit and other goods. If you happen to see a lemonade stand, STOP THERE. We met a lovely woman and her husband who were selling mason jars of lemonade flavored with different tropical fruits, and they were incredible. Passionfruit was my particular favorite, and it was even better when I took it back to our hotel and added some vodka! Poolside drink game perfection.

2. Maui Tropical Plantation

This is place is so cool, and it’s home to The Mill House, one of the best restaurants I’ve ever experienced. Their farm driven menu features a constantly evolving selection of fresh, flavorful dishes and handcrafted cocktails. The decor and ambiance are just as great as the food, with unique decor representing the history of the plantation. They even trimmed the dried orange on my cocktail to look like the mill wheels originally used on the plantation!

You could easily spend a day here. There is a train tour of the plantation, but it’s just as enjoyable to walk. Start the day with a coffee at Mill House Roasting Co. where all the coffee is roasted in house using beans grown either on the plantation property or elsewhere on the island of Maui. Explore the grounds, learn about the history of the plantation and maybe even check out the zipline before lunch! After lunch you can check out the plantation store, farm stand and small boutiques featuring locally made goods. Finish up with some ice cream from The Scoop (macadamia nut was my personal favorite) before you say goodbye to this beautiful property. Or stay for dinner at one of the other restaurants and call it a day!

3. Ocean Kayaking + Snorkeling

We did our kayaking tour with Kayak Olowalu and we had a great time! To be totally honest, our guide was a bit of a nut but we loved it. He totally owned it too, and he was doing all kinds of wacky stuff while we were out on the water.

The coolest part of the tour was that this guy knew exactly where to find the most sea turtles for us to observe while snorkeling, and we also saw a group of whales with some calves! We kept our distance to avoid disturbing them, but watching them was one of the highlights of the entire trip. It was also nice that this company is the only one on the island with a private beach front location, so we were able to launch our kayaks right from the check in point rather than having to be driven somewhere.

Their location is adjacent to a really nice campground that I would definitely consider for our next trip. That particular beach also had the greatest wealth of washed up coral pieces and interesting rocks of all the beaches we walked throughout the islands.

If you’re hungry from kayaking, check out Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie shop right across the road. Their hand held savory mushroom pie really hit the spot for me, and some of the sweet pies were incredibly popular with other members of our group.

4*. Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

I am offering this up as an alternative or as a great activity for those who have more than 3 days in Maui. We didn’t make it to the farm on this most recent trip, but I have been there before and it’s absolutely gorgeous! You can book a guided tour or walk around on your own to explore. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot, this is a great place to go as we all know fields of lavender are having a real moment as of late!

Other Notes:

For this part of our trip we stayed at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, which were absolutely gorgeous. The beaches immediately accessible from the hotel are fairly small (in terms of distance from shoreline to sidewalk) but they extend quite far along the shoreline and are beautiful for walking. The outdoor space at this hotel was fantastic, they had multiple beautiful pools and plenty of outdoor recreation options including ping pong and an expansive grass lawn with cornhole (aka bags).

The absolute highlight of this particular hotel was the Sunday brunch, which was honestly the best I’ve ever had. The spread of fresh seafood alone would have made me happy (and the dessert table kept my vegetarian sister quite content) but when you combine that with bottomless mimosas in multiple flavors including guava and pineapple, it was pure heaven.

Overall we had a great experience here and I would highly recommend it.

Lifestyle

Sautéed Red Cabbage Recipe

I recently learned about the impressive benefits of red cabbage, and have been looking for more ways to incorporate it into my diet. It’s packed with nutrients, supports the heart and liver, helps with inflammation, supports healthy digestion, and it’s crazy cheap, so it’s a total win win!

This recipe gets a little added punch with green onions, which are also a nutrient dense food. What is a nutrient dense food? Great question! It’s anything that is low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. Basically the food version of getting “a lot of bang for your buck.”

The first way is super basic. It only requires a few ingredients:
-1 head of red cabbage, sliced into ribbons
-3 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
-Salt + pepper
-Green onions, chopped

-In a large cast iron skillet or pan, heat the avocado or coconut oil on medium heat. If all your cabbage cannot fit in one pan, divide the oil in half and cook in two separate batches. If you like spice, add some red chili flakes to the oil.
-Add the cabbage to the pan, stirring regularly until it it becomes softer but not mushy.
-When the cabbage appears to be nearly finished, add the green onions, salt + pepper to taste.
-Allow the cabbage to cool, and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. A large head of cabbage can last that long even if you eat it daily!

You can easily add other toppings based on your preference. In the bottom picture you can see that I added some toasted sesame seeds. Sriracha is a great topper, and it is also nice to mix in a little sauerkraut for a tasty probiotic benefit!

Travel

Travel Diaries: Hawaii Pt. 1- 72 Hours in Oahu

One of the great things about traveling in Hawaii is the ability to island hop. Each island has its own personality, and once you’ve bothered to fly all the way to one you’d might as well take the opportunity to check out a few different spots!

We stayed at the Marriot Ko Olina Beach Club, which was easily one of the coolest hotels I’ve ever experienced. Aside from having amazing pools and beautiful views, the hotel is also right on the edge of a series of lagoons that are great for snorkeling! Along the lagoons are little outcroppings of lava rock that have really cool little tide pools on top. We walked out one night and had a lot of fun checking out all the little fish and crabs living there.

If you only have 72 hours in Oahu, there are 3 key things around which I would recommend you plan your days.
1. Pearl Harbor
2. Waimea Valley
3. Diamond Head State Monument

1: Pearl Harbor

If you have any interest in history at all, I strongly recommend spending a day at Pearl Harbor. Get there early and plan to stay for the whole day, because there is a lot to see! If you’re a hard core history buff, you may want to plan for two days here. Spring for the all access Passport to Pearl Harbor pass, which includes a comprehensive audio tour and admission to everything at Pearl Harbor, including the Battleship Missouri and Bowfin Submarine (plus you can bring your ticket back and receive a second day of access for only $10). At most of the sites you visit, there are docents offering free guided tours. These people really know what they are talking about and the tours are excellent.

Wear comfortable shoes, layers and sunscreen as you’ll be doing a lot of walking and it can get pretty toasty in the middle of the day.

2. Waimea Valley

There is no better place to experience the incredible natural beauty of Oahu than the Waimea Valley. This is another place where it is completely worthwhile to take the free tour with the local docents, who have a wealth of knowledge about the indigenous plants and the history of the region.

The valley is accessible via paved pathways that are handicap accessible, so I wouldn’t call this so much of a hike as it is a stroll. However, there are some dirt paths that go off to the sides for those who want to explore a bit more. In the valley you can find an example of a traditional Hawaiian village and, if you’re lucky, even spot a rare endangered bird species called the ’alae ’ula.

The vegetation in this area is absolutely astounding. Plants that I have in my home look completely different when thriving in their natural habitat. Golden Pothos, philodendrons, fiery colored crotons and Monstera Deliciosa with leaves the size of car doors flourished everywhere around us. This is a truly magical place.

3. Diamond Head State Monument

Don’t let the length of this trail fool you- this is not an easy stroll. Much of the trek at Diamond Head consists of stairs inside old military bunkers, and they are quite steep. I would recommend hitting this trail early in the morning, but not early enough for sunrise. This is a pretty popular trail and those who venture out for sunrise or who come later in the morning and likely to find themselves waiting in line to get to the top.

The views from the top are absolutely beautiful, and the hike is short enough that you will easily be finished with it in a couple of hours, even if you spend time wandering around at the top. Reward yourself with a pineapple smoothie or some Dole Whip from the fruit stand in the parking lot, and then leave yourself a leisurely afternoon for some snorkeling or lounging on the beach.

Other notes:

If you are looking for great dining on Oahu, it’s hard to find something better than MonkeyPod Kitchen at Ko Olina. They have a ridiculously great wine list, creative cocktails and incredible food. I had a pizza with rock lobster and mushrooms so delicious I could have cried. Everyone in our group ordered something different, and the response was universally ecstatic.

When you visit Hawaii, be sure to invest in learning about the history and indigenous culture. These beautiful islands are rich in traditions that have been endangered by colonialism and the destruction of Hawaiian sovereignty by the United States. Take the time to look beyond the natural beauty, tropical drinks and enticing beaches. Experience the true roots of Hawaii and respect the sacredness of these islands.

Yoga

Mala Care

Malas are my favorite tool to assist in my meditation and mindfulness practices. From beginning to end, the process of making and using malas is a rich opportunity to honor our intentions.

Because of the precious energy and intentions we put in to our malas, it is important to care for them like the sacred objects they are.

To start, I strongly suggest to avoid storing your malas by hanging them. This stresses the cord and will shorten the life of your mala. When not using or wearing them I always store my malas in little pouches or in bowls on my altar.

It is important to regularly cleanse your malas’ energy. The easiest way to do this is by burning sage or palo santo over them. I do this with my malas at least once each week, more frequently if I have been wearing a mala in a situation where there has been a lot of negative energy. I also like to cleanse/charge my malas using the sun and the moon. To cleanse your mala using the light of the sun, simply leave it in a place where the sun’s rays will shine upon it directly and leave it there for a few hours. Be aware that solar exposure is not good for all stones- Opal, Turquoise, Amethyst and others will fade under prolonged sun exposure. Moonlight is much gentler and a safer option for all stones. To charge your malas under the moon, first consider the type of energy you are wanting your mala to carry. Different phases of the moon impart different energies- read more about that here. To add a grounding, rooting element you can rest your mala in a dish of dirt or even place it in with a potted plant. Make sure it is in a place where the moonlight will touch it, perhaps in a windowsill or on your patio.

If your mala is made of seed or wood, rub a little olive oil on the beads every now and then to prevent them from drying out and cracking. 

If the tassel on your mala gets dirty, wash it in lukewarm water with a gentle detergent. comb the strands and let dry. If the ends of the tassel are looking raggedy you can trim the ends with a pair of sharp scissors.

Avoid placing your malas directly onto the floor or wearing them when using the restroom.

Just remember- your mala is sacred because your precious intentions make it so. Treat your mala with respect and cherish it as you cherish your intentions.

Happy Meditating!
KD

Yoga

Aham Prema Mantra

Aham Prema – I Am Divine Love

This mantra guides us to embody love in every action- a perfect mantra for Valentine’s Day!

Below is a beautiful song that will help you become familiar with this mantra if you are not already. You can choose to chant along or simply allow the vibrations to wash over you.

Namaste!
KD

Yoga

Yama of the Month: Brahmacharya

In the early days of yoga, before students were instructed in physical practice they were required to engage in a long, detailed study of the Yamas and Niyamas.

The Yamas and Niyamas, two of the eight limbs of yoga, are the ethical teachings of yoga. These are the practices that guide yogis and yoginis through our interactions with ourselves and the world around us.

This month I am focusing on the Yama of Brahmacharya, which means non-excess. Often you can find this translated as “celibacy” or “chastity”, but those words do not convey the subtleties of Brahmacharya. Rather than complete celibacy or chastity, we are encouraged by this Yama to resist the excessive distractions of the outside world and focus on finding peace, harmony and joy within. I have also seen Brahmacharya translated as “right use of energy”, which sums up the concept quite beautifully. It encourages us to “enter each day and each action with a sense of holiness rather than indulgence.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Yamas and Niyamas, I highly recommend this text: The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice

Take a moment to consider how you are directing your focus and your energy. Are you constantly fixated on what others think of you? Continuously striving to gain more money, possessions and outward success? Or are you turning that focus and energy inward, to the love and light within yourself that waits to be nurtured and shared with the world?

A lovely mantra for this yama is “Om somaye namaha”,  a lunar mantra for the washing away of the things that leave us depleted.

A supportive asana for this yama is Child’s Pose, a pose that calms our nervous system and encourages healing in the body.

How will you bring Brahmacharya into your practice?

Namaste,
K

*Photo courtesy of Unsplash