Hawaii Recap: Fighting Eel

Fighting Eel is a Hawaiian clothing brand made up of easy pieces that look great with everything from flip flops to heels.

I went nuts at their Waikiki Beach boutique, so much that I had to go back three times to take it all in.

Fighting Eel’s stores are stocked with their namesake items as well as other cool clothing and accessory brands. Much of their jewelry is made in Hawaii.

I bought two tees, one with a palm tree that says “Aloha” (couldn’t find a picture online) and this one:



The cotton is soft and perfect.

The third trip yielded this LAmade striped jacket (also available at Nordstrom):



They had some great canvas pouches with beach prints: tumblr_inline_ml2j7q5cIq1qz4rgp

The jewelry was spectacular! I bought two beaded necklaces and one delicate one with my initial.

I can’t believe I missed this one on my first visit, but my friend P. spotted it and sent me back to check it out:






Hawaii Recap: Forgotten Beach Vacation Essentials

I thought I’d packed well for my trip to Hawaii last week, but it turns out I’d missed a few essentials. 

  1. A beach bag. I own approximately one zillion totes, and to forget to bring one for a beach vacation is practically inexcusable. The first day I found myself deciding between an oversized Vuitton duffel or a plastic bag meant for dry cleaning at the hotel to use at the beach. I had to go with Option B, and of course the bag immediately ripped and spilled all my sunscreen bottles into the sand. Tres chic.
  2. An insulated water bottle. I’d forgotten how cold drinks quickly become lukewarm drinks in a tropical environment. Ice cubes are fleeting. I longed for my S’well bottle. _9130571
  3. Non-leather flip flops. I brought two pairs of sandals: Birkenstock Gizehs and red leather flip flops from Abejas (the best flip flops ever). Except… neither of those performed well during the two days of torrential downpours and urban puddles that we experienced. A traditional pair of rubber flip flops would have held up better.
  4. A folding umbrella. See “torrential rains” above. This would have avoided the $10 drugstore version ($8 too much for what it was worth) that got left in the hotel.
  5. Spray sunscreen. I thought I was being clever by bringing a handful of high-end sunscreen samples that I received from various skin care gifts-with-purchase, but I forgot that spouse likes spray sunscreen. Even the cheapest spray bottle was $16 at the hotel. Bring your own!
  6. Face cleanser. This was really just an oversight. I have a ton of small cleanser samples (all those gifts-with-purchase that I dearly love), but somehow I forgot to pack one. Fortunately there was a Sephora right by my hotel and I picked up a Josie Maran Argan Oil  set for only $16.  I’ve been curious about this brand but this was the first time I tried it. I really liked the three products that came in it: cleanser, face oil, and moisturizing sunscreen. s1610294-main-grid

These aren’t forgotten items, but here are two other travel tips for Hawaii:

  • I didn’t want my wet leather flips flops to bleed onto other items in my (overstuffed) suitcase, but I was out of plastic bags as I packed up to head home. Solution: use the plastic liner bag from the hotel ice bucket. Perfect size for a pair of slim shoes. photo-79
  • Many flights leave Hawaii at night. My first leg was a red-eye to LAX that left at 9:30 PM. Most hotels are also not generous with late checkouts in Hawaii, which leaves you with the dilemma of how to spend the hours between checkout and airport time. The last day was gorgeous and I still wanted to hit the beach, but let’s face it, I didn’t want to be sunburned, sticky and possibly stinky when I boarded seat 2A. The solution I decided upon was to book a spa appointment at 4 PM, approximately 2 1/2 hours before I was due to be picked up for a ride to the airport. With a fresh pair of clothes in my purse, I stashed my stuff in the spa locker, got a massage, and used the (really nice) spa showers and facilities to get ready before I left. Later I found out that the hotel actually had a courtesy suite for this very purpose, but I thought my spa solution also worked out just fine.

Hawaii Recap: Running Diamond Head

Sorry for the radio silence!

Lots of posts this week about my trip to Hawaii, which was pretty darn great.

To recap, this trip was part work and part fun. My field’s biggest conference of the year was in Honolulu, and I tacked on two days of vacation on the front end. Spouse also tagged along for the first half.

Here’s where we stayed:



The Moana Surfrider opened in 1901 and is the oldest hotel on Waikiki Beach.

It’s also located at the end of the hotel strip, nearest to Diamond Head. Here are two shots of Diamond Head from the hotel’s beach area:

photo 1-11 photo-86


The five hour time difference between Central time (our zone) and Hawaii kept me waking up at the un-ripe hour of 5 AM most days, and that was all the push I needed to put on my running shoes and go for a spin.

One great thing about most Westin hotels is that they provide running maps, and the Moana Surfrider was no exception. (Don’t forget to ask the door attendant upon return for a cold bottle of water and chilled towel. Most Westins also have those ready and waiting).

The first morning, Spouse came with me and we did a 3-4 mile route along the ocean and circled a park. Being up so early meant we got to see tai chi students on the beach, plenty of yoginis with mats on the sand, and lots of surfers. I loved it.

One thing nagged me that day: I saw that the hotel running map had an alternate route that took you all the way around Diamond Head. I knew I had to do it.



The next day, Diamond Head was mine.

I took a right out of the hotel and ran along the ocean, finally turning onto Diamond Head Road.

I’m chalking it up to forced perspective, but for the life of me, it seemed like I never got to the tip of Diamond Head. I felt like I was running forever and it was mysteriously almost all uphill.

I hadn’t even rounded the halfway point and I was ready to give up. What seemed to be the end of Diamond Head was always out of my reach, visibly taunting me.

But then something amazing: I turned a corner and the city sprawled below me, stretching out to my right.

I’d completely circled Diamond Head and hadn’t even realized it.

The illusion of never reaching the end was just that: an illusion.

There was no official “end,” rather a pentagonal or hexagonal route. The points of the diamond kept shifting from my ground perspective and what I thought was an unreachable tip was really a series of turns that I’d already mastered.

There’s a metaphor for life here somewhere.

The rest of the run was a downhill cruise back to the hotel with a huge smile on my face.

photo 2-9












Hawaiian Style


Today I’m off to a work trip to Hawaii, and of course I am super excited.

I have two days of vacation on the front end, and I was contemplating taking a “Magnum, P.I.” tour in a replica helicopter from the show.

tc helicopter

At $500 an hour (per person!), though, it seemed a bit steep.

I had to laugh when the conference sent a link about “What to Wear in Hawaii.” Here’s a quote:

The traditional Hawaiian women’s dress is the muumuu, which hangs from the shoulders and fits loosely around the body. Women can wear them to most occasions and fit right in.

So, to recap, I will be dressing like this for the next week:








Hawaiian Lava Rocks

Have you ever been to the Big Island of Hawaii?

They have a very unusual but cool type of graffiti: white coral placed on lava rocks. The contrast really makes it pop.

big-island-roadside-graffitti-002 Unknown-4 images images-1 images-2


But did you know it’s bad luck to take the rocks home?

Legend has it that removing a rock or sand from Hawaii will incur the wrath of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. 

Superstition runs deep enough that many tourists who have taken rocks from Hawaiian beaches have returned them in hopes of ending streaks of bad luck. 

There’s even a cottage industry devoted to appropriately returning rocks to their place of origin, for a fee, of course.