Posts Tagged ‘hawaii’

Wishing for that Hawaiian sun

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , ,

With the weather taking a turn for the cold lately, my energy level is so low and I feel like I can’t get through the day. It makes me miss the gorgeous days in Hawaii…

morning wind and waves time lapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

hawaii sunrise time lapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Escape Monthly August: Hawaii Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow, Hawaii again? I hadn’t paid attention to when they announced the next month’s theme or I might have thought about the wisdom of a third Hawaii-themed box. Still, it turned out ok and there isn’t much overlap in products, which is great.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly august hawaii box products showing escape monthly august hawaii box info sheet escape monthly august hawaii box info sheet opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

I must say, I’m pleased with the selection here and really found some new favorites!

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Maui – Darn, this is the same one I got in the second Hawaii box. I wish it was a third kind so I could keep amassing my collection! Now I don’t know what to do with this. Maybe donate it to a library?

Island Art Store map of old Hawaii vintage-style postcard – Adorable postcard that I’m going to keep as art! I love the look and feel and it’s a great little map of Hawaii. It’s just too nice to actually use!

Pure-Aid sport sunscreen – While sunscreen is important, I wish they’d included either a local brand or a tropical scented one at least. The sport version just seems generic, though it will be useful for the outdoor activities you’d want to do in Hawaii.

Kahala Pineapple slices – These are amazing snacks that I already want more of. I love how the pineapple is soft and slightly chewy. Most dried pineapple gets too hard and chewy for my liking. The sweetness was just right to offer a snack that’s also a treat. I see they’re in Whole Foods all around Hawaii, but what about elsewhere?! I’ll keep searching every Whole Foods I go to.

glass coasters – Totally random items that weren’t even listed but this pair of coasters is one of my favorite items. Ever since being a homeowner, I’ve enjoyed mundane household things. Like cute glass coasters. The design of seashells fits the Hawaiian theme nicely and these coasters add an elegant look to our coffee table.

surfboard keychain – This surfboard is nice and smooth with a glossy finish. I love the look of it but I wish I’d gotten any color other than pink! Oh well, it still looks good and I might swap out the Australian surfboard keychain on my keys for this one now.

Island Soap Candle Works plumeria blossom body wash – The body wash smells great, with a nice light flowery scent. I’ve never had anything plumeria scented before! I’m surprised this is the bonus item and would have expected the surfboard or coasters, but hey we seem to always get the bonus item anyway so that’s great.

Ola coconut body lotion – I’ve got this same scent from this brand in the body butter, which is of course thicker than this lotion. The coconut scent is quite subtle once you rub it on and the consistency is somewhat runny.

Ola passion fruit body mist – Whoa, what an immensely fruity smell! Great in the spring to liven things up, or to remind you of blossoming flowers. I like that this spray can be used around the room, on linens, or of course, on the body. It’s sure to add a little boost to the experience.

MacaMania Anahola tropical granola  – I’ll never love granola bars, but this one looks pretty good. I’m saving it for a trip when we do something like hiking or a long drive. It’s great to have a burst of energy for those types of things.

I’m happy with the different products being showcased this time around, but I do wish they wouldn’t rely on Hawaii so much. The third year in a row isn’t necessary when there are so many places in the world yet to explore. Which products from this Hawaii Escape Monthly box would you want too? If you want to sign up, be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get a code for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription.

Next up is Greece! Now that’s a great place we haven’t escaped to yet and I can’t wait to see what comes. I’ve been there before and really enjoyed it, so I hope some things remind me of my trip.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

My pet Hawaiian shrimp

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Back when we were in Hawaii, I finally got myself a little Hawaiian red shrimp ecosphere. While I’d seen the crazy expensive closed systems before, I liked that the one I found includes a lid that opens. Just in case I need to feed them or change the water, right? So I happily bought the travel set, which included the jar with sand and a fake little plant plus a separate plastic bottle with the shrimp and some blue pellets (food, I presume). All I had to do was put it in my checked bag for transport back home!

I also decided to get a set of snails to add to my new little ecosystem, just to help clean the water. While in Hawaii, I kept them in the bottle together and spent hours watching them. The snails liked to hide up on the lid, out of the water. Whenever they did go down, the shrimp would immediately gravitate towards them and pick at their shells. They must have some tasty algae growing on those shells! When it came time to travel, I carefully wrapped the bottle in paper towels and put it in a box, just in case anything leaked. I then wrapped the box in some of my clothes to try to offer the best buffer between potential jolts and coldness.

Upon arrival many hours later (and a good 30-degree drop in temperature too), I gingerly opened everything and found minimal leakage of water. The shrimp and snails were just fine. I then set about setting up their habitat and enjoyed a beautiful jar to put on the counter or table. Check out the pictures below to show you what has happened since…

hawaiian red shrimp habitat in store

The original habitat I saw at the store! I couldn’t leave without my own.

hawaiian red shrimp eating off black snail shell

The shrimp, snails, and blue pellets in the travel bottle. Those shrimp loved following the snails around!

cat sniffing glass jar with sand and fake plant

Smokey sniffed at this mysterious new jar while I was putting it together.

hawaiian red shrimp and snails ecosphere self-sustaining ecosystem

I loved sitting and watching them. I mostly kept them on the coffee table or the island in the kitchen.

nerite snail eating in glass jar

After awhile, some shrimp and my snails died. The water began to get murky, so I got a nerite snail from the local pet store.

hawaiian shrimp and nerite snail timelapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

I did a timelapse video of the super active new snail and its four little shrimp friends! Little did I know what was about to happen…

spilled water and sand on hardwood floor

The very next day, disaster struck. Smokey clumsily jumped on the counter, but slid and took the entire box and the jar with her.

tools used for shrimp habitat spill cleanup

We painstakingly got the shrimp back in (one was already dead) and sucked the water back in the jar.

It was too much trauma and the water sucked back in was gross with dust and cat hair. Another one died promptly and I was so upset, until I realized that both my two remaining shrimp and snail are used to not just brackish water, but fresh water and salt water. They’re pretty good at adjusting to different levels of salinity, so I decided to clean out the jar and give them fresh water for awhile. Except I had no idea what sort of fresh water to use, so I used a water bottle. By the next morning, that seemed to kill the other two shrimp (or maybe they were already beyond help 🙁 ). And so it was just my poor little snail. Even it gave me a scare a few days later when I thought it had died. Thankfully, by that night it was climbing up the glass again.

After this happened, I immediately decided I needed to order some shrimp to replace the ones I lost and found Shrimp Mart after some searching. I felt they had really reasonable prices, especially when it came to shipping, so I opted for their 20 Opae Ula selection. I wanted to get their live Angel Hair Moss too, but they were out of stock at the time. Too bad! Maybe another time, or hopefully I can get some locally.

naughty cat laying in cage

Smokey was in a time out during our recovery and cleanup period.

packaging for mailed hawaiian red shrimps

The new shrimp arrived in the mail about a week later.

plastic bag with twenty-plus hawaiian red shrimp

Very well packaged! All shrimp were alive and they gave well over 20 (I think I counted 27, but with so many it’s hard to say).

I’m not sure what the pink thing is, but it seems to be a food source. I think it just allows algae growth on it and is just a sort of sponge that the shrimp wouldn’t eat. I carefully transferred the shrimp into the jar and the amount of water they came in was just perfect! I then noticed a strange thing squirming around, which I figured it couldn’t be parasitic or dangerous since it’d been in the bag with all the shrimp on the trip and they were fine.

hawaiian red shrimp larva in spoon

The strange worm-like thing jerking around turned out to be a larva!

over two dozen hawaiian red shrimp in jar with nerite snail

And now they’re happily settled in their new home. I’m thinking about splitting them into two for more space.

I need to make sure I get the right kind of brackish water for them before I use another container for some of them. I hope they don’t feel too crowded in this jar. I’ve since put the pink thing in with them, so they have a place to hide and eat from. And yes, I am much more paranoid about where I place the jar now. No place feels safe, even the ground!

hawaiian shrimp eating

Check out the video of them settled in their home!

Hawaii 2014 haul

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Somehow I always manage to forget to take pictures after coming back from a trip and it’s week later when I actually have a haul post ready. This time around I got so eager to share some of the snacks we brought back that they were taken to work and devoured (or given to my parents) before I ever snapped a photo. But here’s a look at some of the cool things we got while in Oahu last month!

bag of kulu kulu mini waffles

One of the many snack items I got. These fun little guys came in panda or seal shapes and are filled with custard or jam! I just wish they were more fresh when I got them.

hawaiian red shrimp and snails ecosphere self-sustaining ecosystem

These awesome self-sustaining ecospheres have Hawaiian red shrimp and (optionally) snails. I’ve wanted one for years and I’m so happy they made it through air travel just fine.

pineapple-scented candle in coconut shell, koa wood bookmark, and hawaii calendar for 2015

I got the pineapple-scented candle in a coconut shell and koa wood bookmark from an ABC Store. The calendar came free from a Hilo Hattie purchase!

purple halter top dress with white flowers, blue and beige hawaiian shirt, and hawaii t-shirt from hilo hattie

The clothing we got at Hilo Hattie included a dress for me, a Hawaiian shirt for my brother-in-law, and a t-shirt for my father-in-law. I actually have a dress in the exact same pattern as the Hawaiian shirt, from Panda’s previous visit to HI.

hawaiian host macadamia chocolates from costco and gold sea turtle earrings from hilo hattie

The other item I got at Hilo Hattie are those awesome earrings! I love sea turtles. At the local Costco, we got a giant tub of the Hawaiian Host macadamia chocolates – they were a hit at work. We also got tins of nuts for my parents, but I forgot to get a picture of that.

blue and white flip flop oven glove from dole plantation in hawaii

One day, we stopped by the Dole Plantation and I thought this was a super cute and creative oven glove design. I hope my mother-in-law likes it!

honolulu cookie company pineapple-shaped shortbread cookies

And of course, no visit to Hawaii is complete without some Honolulu Cookies. Panda and I both brought some to our offices. They disappeared pretty quickly!

Escape Monthly November: Hawaii Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is the first true repeat theme that they’ve done, so of course I was curious to see how much overlap it would have with the previous box. I personally don’t feel this was as good as the first box and especially having received that one, this was rather disappointing. Even just looking at it without considering what I had previously, I didn’t feel like the value and variety were there. I guess I prefer boxes with more smaller items versus a larger-ticket item or some medium ones. I’m starting to carefully evaluate the value I perceive I’m gaining from these boxes to decide how much longer I’ll stay with them. Another box or two that are under par might make me end my subscription, but for now I’m really intrigued with the possibilities for next month’s box.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly november hawaii box products showing escape monthly november hawaii box info card escape monthly november hawaii box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

Everything here was new to me, so that was great for introducing me to different items. I like that some of them went full out with the British look while others are just products you might go for any day as you shop around.

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Maui – Well, at the least it’s good that they didn’t send the same guidebook. Last time I got the Big Island and this time I have Maui, which are perfect since so far I’ve only been to Oahu. With all that new territory still waiting for me to explore, both of the guidebooks I have will be useful.

Hawaiian Host Kona Glazed Macadamia nuts – As always, I’m not into nuts (though macadamia nuts are at least tolerable and even enjoyable at times). What really kills this for me is the coffee flavoring, so I’ve passed it on to Panda for him to eat. I doubt another flavor would have persuaded me otherwise anyway though.

Hawaiian Rainforest Naturals Stress Release Bath Crystals – This was the only entirely new brand to show up and I think it’s pretty cool. I love bath stuff, so this will be great for my next bath when I’m looking to soak away the stress. This pouch is gently sweet and almost reminiscent of baby powder. I find it wonderful that the ingredients are responsibly sourced from the Hawaiian rainforest and I’d love to go there on my next trip. I’m curious what flower essences went into this one, which would have been a nice thing to outline along with the directions for use.

Royal Hawaiian Orchards Kona Coffee Banana Macadamia Crunch – Again with the coffee flavor! I think with one, that should have been enough for this box and they should have included a different flavor. I would have been fine with receiving the same flavor I did with the last box (papaya lime) since that was pretty unique and tasty. Unfortunately, I can’t stand coffee flavored stuff, so this has been put in Panda’s pile as well. Pity.

Honey Girl Organics Face & Eye Creme and Night Creme – This is the exact same thing from the last box. I wish they’d included any other products from this line, since I would have been happy to try those, but I don’t want repeats of the same items! I sure hope someone would want to trade for this. I’ve barely even used the first set since I have so many other products I’m using too.

Personal Paradise Noni Papaya Pineapple shampoo – We received this brand in the last box, but I like that we get to try their shampoo this time. I like how they have very tropically-inspired scents and I’m looking forward to how my hair will smell after this one. I like the packaging for this brand and I like the lotion that I got in the other box, which I’ve already used up. Now this is how to repeat a brand across different boxes.

Personal Paradise Noni Papaya Pineapple body lotion – This lotion is definitely a lighter scent than the coconut lime one I got in the original Hawaii box, but I like it as well. It’s so refreshing and the lotion is a great consistency. It absorbs into my skin really well and softens my hands right away! I’ll totally be using this until it’s completely empty too, just like the other tube I had. I’m glad I get to try another one of their lovely scents.

seashell lei  – The bonus item was again a lei, though a different design. I like the use of some cowry shells to change up the pattern and I’ll add this to my growing collection of seashell leis from Hawaii.

Well, it was an ok box, but I was to feel more excited about what I’m getting. I think something with koa wood would have been cool, like the bookmark I’d bought on my recent trip to Hawaii. What’s your impression of this Hawaii Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): MYESCAPE or YULETIDE for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

escape monthly november hawaii box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of europe

To round up the year is a more general theme, with all sorts of possibilities! I look forward to some European delights. This will help me decide if I should actively consider cancelling this subscription or if I should continue on for awhile. Bring on the good stuff!

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Working remotely in Hawaii

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I spent a week out in Hawaii while doing everything to make it seem like I wasn’t even gone work-wise. It was a last-minute thing: when I realized Veteran’s Day was the following week, I had asked Panda what our plans were (anticipating taking Monday off to enjoy a 4-day weekend). Instead of the type of answer I was expecting, I discovered that would be the week he was slated to go to Hawaii for work. I was so disappointed because I was really wanted to enjoy the weekend with him, but work travel meant he’d be leaving me Sunday morning. In other words, what I thought would be a long weekend would actually only consist of Saturday. For the first time, I was actually serious about joining him on a work trip. I really didn’t want to lose out on making it a holiday weekend worth my time.

So, once it was confirmed that he was going, I decided to make a decision and book tickets too. I’ve never planned a trip like this on such short notice, but it was one of those things I knew I’d regret for ages if I didn’t go for it. I figured I could still get all my work done at the normal EST hours I work and then I’d have the afternoon to enjoy the surroundings in Hawaii. Just like that, we found tickets for times I felt were reasonable and least interfered with work. By Sunday, we were off on our journey to spend a week out at the North Shore.

turtle bay resort at north shore hotel room with king bed

My office for the week.

I woke up daily (except Veteran’s Day and the weekend) at 4:30 HST to start work. I joined meetings remotely, answered emails, and worked on projects. Before I knew it, the sun would be rising and people were going off to lunch. I’d usually have a late “lunch” break and go enjoy the breakfast buffet downstairs. I savored the meals and watched the waves coming in as the heat began to build outside. Then it was back to the room for more work, which flew by pretty quickly. I found myself to be more productive (or at least it felt so) working from the hotel. This was probably because I had very few distractions. I hardly even got up for a drink or restroom break whereas usually at work I’m up at least once or twice an hour.

view of sunrise from turtle bay resort hotel room

Being awake for the sunrise was pretty cool.

view of turtle bay beach and ocean from turtle bay resort hotel room

The daytime view was pretty awesome too.

breakfast spread from breakfast buffet at turtle bay resort

A typical breakfast halfway through the work day!

I tried to finish my day around 1, but it usually went past that, though for the most part I was able to stop working by 2. At that point I had the choice of beaches to play at. One day I went the less traveled route and happily caught dozens of hermit crabs, snails, and even fish. Another day I found other crabs lurking by the rocks and swam around in the bay following a variety of fish around coral reefs. Yet another day I caught more critters and had a staring contest with some ghost crabs. I kept meaning to go to the banyan tree everyone checks out, but there were so many distractions along the way that I never quite made it there. I did have fun filming storks taking off in slo-mo, getting super close-ups of the creatures I caught, and generally basking in the sun.

clear plastic cup with a fish, hermit crab, and sea snail

Just the beginning of my catchings.

As the sun went down, we’d search for dinner and my night would wind down. I’d shower off the sand from the day and spend some time online before calling it a night. I tried to sleep around 8, but oftentimes it was closer to 10 when I got to bed. And then the day would start anew just past 4 as my alarms began to ring. It was much easier to wake up at that time than I thought it might be. I was quickly alert and ready to go! On our days off, we’d sleep in until 9 or so and then grab breakfast before embarking out on some adventure. Panda didn’t get the weekend, but luckily was free on Veteran’s Day and had some opportunities to leave work for a few hours. We went to Waikiki twice, hiked Diamond Head, visited Pearl Harbor, and even swung by the Dole Plantation. Not bad for a working vacation!

How to train a crab

laelene Posted in how to guides, lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve been playing with a variety of crabs of late and it’s fascinating. They’re rather smart creatures and I can almost swear they understand me. I’ve definitely stared into the eyes of some and felt like they could communicate with me. Maybe that’s just how their eyes look, but if you’ve ever tried to stare down a crab you might know what I mean. Sometimes their cunning is shocking. I’ve had them figure out how to climb up and out of cups, planning their escape. I’ve had them (somewhat) calmly crawl on me and learn that I’ll keep picking them up every time they try to leave. I’ve even had them working in teams to try to reach higher out of their temporary home in my cup.

tower of hermit crabs climbing on top of each other

The leaning tower of crabs. Smaller ones love to hitch a ride on larger ones!

clump of hermit crabs crawling on each other climbing up side of paper cup

Hitching a ride or using teamwork to escape?

line of hermit crabs crawling up side of paper cup

One by one, they learn from each other and crawl out.

It all started with some hermit crabs. It was the first day I got to go to the beach by the hotel (Turtle Bay Resort). I went wandering and eventually found a way to get to the beach I’d seen from the breakfast table. At first it was just tons and tons of snails on the rocks. I picked a bunch and was just enjoying the day playing around in the water with them when I noticed much faster movement. It was a hermit crab scuttling by! Once I knew what to look for, it was game over. I spotted so many that I had caught at least 30-something and there was no room in my cup. So I started to take pictures and release them. After all, what I really want are some close-up images of these cool creatures.

hermit crab staring at person holding it in fingers

If you just hold them, they’ll come out and look at you.

The next day, I went to the other side of the resort to check out what else I could find. It turned out to be a gold mine for other crabs. The land ones move far too fast to ever be caught, but the water ones have a tendency to hide and blend with the rocks. Since these rock formations have plenty of pools, it provided an easy microcosm to focus on. I was determined to get a “normal” crab (the kind that walks side to side). I succeeded with that eventually and got a crab that was almost too big for my cup! Now my goal is to get one of those burrowing crabs, which are a lot harder since they’ve got plenty of open beach to run across and even more sand they can dig below to escape.

crab hiding against rock and blending in

The crabs blend in quite well with the rocks!

crab hiding against rock and person pointing finger near it

I see yoooou.

ghost crab in hawaii sitting at entrance of tunnel in sand

My next challenge awaits.

So, how to train a crab:

1. Figure out where they hang out and go sit/squat nearby.

2. Stay still and watch for a bit. Look for an area they’re hiding where it’s enclosed enough for you to chase it.

3. Choose one that isn’t too large (no bigger than your pinky is probably best) and use a clear cup to get close to it. If we’re talking hermit crabs then just pick them up.

4. It takes a bit of back and forth to trick them into running into the cup area or falling into it as they scurry around. Just be careful and use one hand to guide them towards the cup.

5. Once caught, make sure you provide a decently comfortable environment, whether it’s just having enough sea water and not making it too warm or you need some rocks so the crab can sit out of the water too.

6. Keep it in the cup for awhile. Let it calm down and get used to this strange new environment.

7. After the crab is no longer desperately attempting to crawl out of the cup, you can stick your hand in and see if it’ll let you brush it. Move your finger around to guide it where you want to (that’s how I taught a crab that it actually could climb up the cup – of course then it wouldn’t stop climbing up the wall after that).

8. Before you know it, the crab will be totally fine with you touching it and might even crawl around on you! Beware, it’s definitely trying to escape though. If you’re good you’ll get some moments of peace where you can actually stare into its eyes, make that eye contact, and ponder its thoughts.

baby crab sitting on hand with ocean in background

Spending some quality time with my baby pet.

holding crab on hand smiling at it

Another one of my trainees, just chillin’ on my hand.

365great Day 255: ATVing

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 255: atvingI’ve only gone ATVing once and it was in the beautiful hills of Hawaii. That’s hard to beat! We got to zoom around on those things with gorgeous views of the ocean. As a teenager midway through high school, it was basically a dream come true to be hanging out with peers from across the country as we enjoyed an experience like that. I remember grinning so hard that I had a layer of dust on my teeth after all that fun. It was absolutely worth it! Unfortunately, since then I haven’t gotten a chance to ride one again, but I sure hope I do. It’s so freeing to be able to race across all sorts of terrain while enjoying the breeze, the sun, and the bumpiness. I don’t know if I can ever top that memory from when I was sixteen, but I’m sure ATVing anywhere is still great.

Escape Monthly October: Hawaii Box Review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ah, as the weather cools down, it’s a great time to think of warmer escapes. This month’s Escape Monthly theme is Hawaii and it’s a nice way to get your mind off the coming winter months. Too bad I didn’t win the trip as well, but Panda and I might just vacation there again next year anyway!

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city. Each box comes with a Moon Handbooks guide for that region. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a lovely recurring referral commission program.

escape monthly october hawaii box products showing

escape monthly october hawaii box info card against blue and white chevron background

escape monthly october hawaii box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

I think we can all agree that Hawaii is a pretty fantastic place. Those who have been want to return and those who haven’t have it on their bucket list! Luckily, I’ve been twice in my life and had great memories both times. This box covered some great items made locally and definitely highlighted more tropical flavors. I like the range of products included! Totally feeling that island vibe.

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Big Island of Hawai’i – This is perfect for a future trip, since so far I’ve only ever been to Oahu and the next trip to Hawaii will definitely be to another island. When I decide to go check out the Big Island, I’ll be well-prepared. There’s some great information in here and I love that there’s a section for honeymooners so Panda and I know what we can do for a romantic vacation.

Royal Hawaiian Orchards Papaya Lime Macadamia Crunch – I generally find some tropical fruits like mango and papaya to be too strong for me, so I was skeptical of this snack even though it looks fab. After tasting it, I can’t say that I’d want more but it was interesting to try. The lime did help quell some of the papaya but overall the flavor mashing was still too strong for me. Plus, they’re nutty and I’m not much of a nut fan as it is.

gentle scrub facial buff – Oftentimes, these fun products are one of my favorite items in the box and this is no exception. I totally need a facial buff pad like this to help work away my acne scars and help prevent buildup for future breakouts. Absolutely love it and I’ll be using it the shower when I wash my face.

Personal Paradise Coconut Lime body lotion – This lotion smells wonderful and absorbs well. I’m totally going to be using it after I wash my hands. It absolutely reminds me of being out in Hawaii and I enjoy the scent that wafts up after I apply it.

Tub & Scrub Hawaiian bath salts in Oregon Rain – Haha, was it purposeful that they went with the Oregon Rain scent? I wonder if that’s a coincidence or if they meant to tie it in to the previous box’s theme. Whatever the case, it smells refreshing and soothing all at once. I’m drawing up a bath right now to go try it out! Can’t wait. 🙂

Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt – Freakin’ adorable packaging makes this cool already. It’s so cute I almost can’t bear to open it… but I will eventually. I’ll try it out next time we cook and then I’ve got to find a way to repurpose the jar once I’ve used it up. I’m a sucker for good packaging.

Tiesta Tea Immunity Maui Mango – This is actually a tisane rather than a true tea, since all ingredients are just fruit and flower parts, with no actual caffeine content. It looks really fun but I’m hesitant to open it to try since it has mango and I’m just not into that flavor. However, the pineapple and orange might mask much of that flavor so I’m curious how it’d taste. I’ll probably try it eventually.

seashell lei – This is a cute little necklace that will be decoration somewhere. I don’t have much use for it, but I’ll keep it around and bring it out for any tropical themed needs in the future.

Honey Girl Organics Face & Eye Creme and Night Creme – I totally saw these when I was out in Hawaii and was super curious about the brand! I’m really glad I get to try them out now. The face & eye creme is really rich and thick. I’d probably use it more at night. The night creme is fascinating… it kind of melts with your body heat and seems greasy but is like this layer of softness. It feels really healing!

Ostara Organics lip balm in Cuppa Java – Well, since this is supposed to be a coffee scent, I’m going to save it for someone else. I don’t drink coffee and I’m not a fan of the smell, but there certainly are plenty of people who do like it. In fact, maybe I can give this to Panda since he needs to use more lip balm especially as the winter approaches.

Ola body butter in Coconut – I didn’t want to break the seal on this one just yet, but I’m totally using it this winter. It seems like the perfect product to keep my skin hydrated in the bitter cold. I love the size too, which is easily portable and will last me for quite a few uses. Funny how a tropical thing can be so fitting for very non-tropical conditions.

Hawaiian Host Dark Chocolate Covered Macadamias – Mmm, yummy! This is a nice snack with rich flavors, just enough sweetness, and a wonderful crunch. It’s a great way of highlighting macadamia nuts in a delicious treat. I’d totally eat more of these.

So what do you think of this Escape Monthly box? Have you been to Hawaii before? If you want Escape Monthly for yourself, sign up, and try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): ESCAPENOW for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription, TROPICALESCAPE for 20% off, GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

And a preview of next month:

escape monthly october hawaii box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of vermont

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just won this box and wanted to share what I got!]

On My Mind, episode 9

laelene Posted in on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve got so much on my mind it’s a perfect time to link up with Jennifer again for Thursday Thoughts!

Thursday Thoughts

a. ~I’m so happy that I got the job I really wanted! For awhile I was getting all stressed out because every day that passed felt like weeks and it seemed like I’d never reach the point of getting a job offer. It’s funny how time drags on like that when you’re waiting on something that’s important to you. I mean, from the time I applied to the time I got the offer was really only 2 weeks but I seriously felt like 2 months had gone by. Now that I know, I feel like a weight has been lifted. As they say, the worst is not knowing… then you’re stuck in a limbo not sure of what the next step will be or where it will take you. Oh, and I’m really glad I no longer have to remember to use my debit card 5 times a month to avoid a fee on my checking account. I will have direct deposit again, which will waive that requirement! The small joys of employment…

homegrown collective july box coconut theme

I’ll get Homegrown Collective boxes like these now!

b. ~So since I’ve settled the job thing, now I’ve got a ton of things to hone in on. I’m looking to get a car and a new laptop and maybe some clothes. I’ve been meaning to get a pair of sneakers (I can’t even remember the last time I wore sneakers and it’s high time I use them again!) and I promised myself I could get the Homegrown Collective subscription when I landed a job. There are a ton of other subscription boxes I’ve been eyeing and I want to pick up yoga classes again, but I don’t want to go crazy spending money so I will need to phase these items in slowly. There’s so much stuff to purchase in the coming months! Not only all this stuff I’ve put off until I got a job (I figured that would help motivate me), but also the things we’re going to want for our new home. I can’t wait to get some fun home items like a reed diffuser and some more furniture.

c. ~Once again I checked the mail late yesterday and I was so surprised to find another Ipsy bag! I double and triple and quadruple-checked that both were addressed to me and I didn’t see a second charge on my credit card, so it looks like I got lucky this month! I got identical bags so I’m going to put some items up for trade, like the lip balm and nail polish, since I really don’t need two of those. Hopefully I can find the second bag a home as well, since I’m fond of collecting the variety of bags and have no need for a dupe.

inside of kia dealership

Lovely experience at the Kia dealership.

d. ~Panda and I checked out a Kia dealer last weekend and today I headed to a different one just to see if they had better rates or something. They ended up offering me a price that is close to what I’m looking for, so it’s looking very promising. I can’t wait to share the car I end up getting, which will almost definitely be an Optima with the EX premium package. There are so many cool features in it that it really feels like a luxury car. In fact, it can rival the Lexus that my parents have (though that one is nearly 10 years old now so it’s probably a bit outdated by now). Still, for the price point, I’m getting a lot of nice stuff. I have a few more questions I need answered and a bit more negotiating to do, but I love that it ended up being easier than it might have been. The original price they quoted was so far from my desired price that I wasn’t sure I could come to a good compromise. I’ve had my heart set on getting a Kia for a long time now, so I would have been disappointed if it didn’t work out. Fingers crossed there are no unexpected surprises!

e. ~I’m slated to start work next month since I had a vacation planned already, so in the mean time I get to go home for a bit! For some reason I feel like I’ve been out east for a long time when it’s only been a month and a half. I think it might be because this is the first time I came intending to stay long term; every other time was just a 2-3 month visit. When you relocate, it feels different from just staying awhile. I do have training to attend next week for the first two days, but then I’ll be flying back to SoCal for a few precious days at home. I’m looking forward to going back since there’s a lot of loose ends that I didn’t really get to tie up yet. I hope I can get some nice rest in as well. For some reason I’m always tired here even though I’m not really exerting myself. Maybe home will be the recharge I need.

f. ~YAY our second annual summer vacation is coming up in less than two weeks! We’ve had this trip planned for months now and I’m so excited that it’s nearly here. Panda and I agreed that we would alternate choosing destinations each year. Last year was our first major trip and he chose Hawaii; this year I chose the UK (which works out nicely since the Uni of York where I studied abroad is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year). It’ll be so nice to go back and share some of my life out there with him. This vacation had to be later in the year (our Hawaii trip was June/July) due to ticket prices and trying to catch a holiday weekend – in this case, Labor Day. It’s the first time he’s leaving the country, which should be quite the adventure.

g. ~Since I have to use my debit card 5 times a month until I get direct deposit again, I went out to Target for some shopping today. I was hoping to get the fuzzy nail polish that Sally Hansen has, but the sale was gone and I wanted to wait for a deal again. Instead I found some ointment for my burns, which aren’t healing as well as I’d want. I also got some food items that I had coupons for, which I’m pretty excited about. Finally, I purchased office supplies – these clear reusable double-sided sticky pads that you can mount pictures or hold things in place with. When I was visiting Brandy (check her out at MommySplurge) a few days ago, she showed me how she used them to ensure things didn’t roll away when she was trying to take pictures. Brilliant! Now I don’t have to waste tape. 🙂

What’s going on in your life?

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