Literally "30,000 feet in the air" just like one of my favorite Kendrick Lamar songs. Last month, I traveled to the Hawaiian island, Kauai, for the very first time. In fact, it was my first trip to Hawaii -- period. I'd always thought about taking this trip, but I'm very early on in my travel journey as an adult and I had yet to check it off my list.
I was invited to Kauai Fashion Weekend to cover the event, and I was truly ecstatic to not only experience the fashion, but to capture the natural beauty and culture of the island as well.
Wednesday | Check-In & Chill
Upon arriving on my American Airlines flight, I was picked up by the Kauai Beach Resort complimentary airport shuttle bus and quickly transported to the resort. I loved how close it was to the Lihue airport -- so convenient! I hopped in my car, stopped by Walmart for important things that I forgot to pack and checked out Wailua Falls before retiring for the evening. I was so sleepy!
I stayed at Kauai Beach Resort for 5 nights and I enjoyed every night after long, exhausting (yet fun) days. Like everyone I encountered during my trip, the staff was very friendly and helpful if I needed them. One of the most important parts of a trip for me is the hotel. Kauai Beach Resort was clean, of excellent quality and affordable.
Thursday | Safari Helicopter Tour
I can NOW check 'helicopter ride' off of my bucket list and over Kauai was the best way I could have done it! Eighty-percent of Kauai is not able to be seen by car as it's not accessible, so I highly recommend doing it this way. My flight was with Safari Helicopters and they were amazing! Everyone was personable and our pilot, Bruno, gave us all of the history and geographic facts about each part of the island. It was educational and so breathtaking that I was speechless as we flew over the massive mountains and sparkling blue Nā Pali Coast. I got TONS of photos, of course!
Afterwards, I was able to explore the South Shore with Lani of the Visitor's Bureau.
Meet & Greet with Meghan Edmonds
On Thursday night, just days prior to the main Kauai Fashion Weekend event, there was a Meet and Greet with Meghan Edmonds of The Real Housewives of Orange County at the Kauai Marriott Resort. Attendees sipped champagne, nibbled on light bites, and were able to take photos with & ask Meghan questions. It wasn't Meghan's first time on Kauai, so she had a lot to say about the island and how it is a must-travel vacation spot...and I can most certainly agree!
My question to Meghan was:
Most people ask, "What one item would you bring if you were stranded on an island?" Well, you're on the beautiful island of Kauai by choice, of course, but what is the ONE beauty product that you can't travel without?
She mentioned that the product she never travels without is her concealer. After remembering the name of the brand, she told me that she's obsessed with Glō Minerals (available at Dermstore). I'm finding that concealer in general is great for light summer makeup, so I may need to try her fave!
Friday | ATV Tour on Kipu Ranch
An ATV off-road tour is definitely not anything I would have ever thought to book for a trip! I'm such a foodie when it comes to traveling, but this tour at Kipu Ranch was so much fun and high-energy. If you're traveling with family or friends, I would totally recommend it for a unique group outing. I rode with our tour guide, Marlon, to get photos during the ride and we got to see all of the famous filming spots from movies such as Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park.
Read more about my ATV tour and my tips for the excursion
Saturday | Kauai Fashion Weekend
After my adventurous days, I decided to spend my Saturday in my room and relax. As the sun set over Kauai on Saturday evening, I was busy getting ready for the big Kauai Fashion Weekend show which I found to not only be about fashion and the immaculate designs, but also about culture. From from women's formalwear to menswear to swimwear, there were a variety of designs gliding down the runway on models of all body types from local and international designers.
Kauai Fashion Weekend celebrated its 5th annual show this year featuring Meghan Edmonds as the special celebrity guest and the designs of Sha Ali of Ahmad Couture. The evening began with shopping, photo ops and, for VIP attendees, a three-course dinner with the runway show to follow.
I even won one of Sha's designs in the raffle drawing at the end of the fashion show (photos soon)!
See more designs from Kauai Fashion Weekend
Sunday | Captain Andy's Nā Pali Coast Tour
Unfortunately, I don't snorkel because I never learned how to swim, but there's much more to Captain Andy's Na Pali Coast tour! Light breakfast and a full lunch is served over rippling water views. I took this time to gaze at the ocean and towering mountains of the island completely forgetting that I'd brought magazines to read. It was a tranquil way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon and the tour gave me time to reflect and brew inspiration.
We boarded the Akialoa catamaran and jetted through the water for approximately an hour before arriving at the Na Pali Coast. I relaxed and captured photos as the other passengers snorkeled for about 20 minutes. People saw dolphins, fish glimmering underwater, and even sea turtles! This is a great tour for capturing cool video clips and photos underwater with a GoPro or other waterproof camera.
Once we returned to the port, I had the rest of the day to myself to explore! If there's one tip I can give for traveling, it's to leave room to venture out and explore. Don't schedule your days too tightly and go where the wind takes you. Be spontaneous! Some of the best memories are the ones where you stumble upon a non-chain restaurant or a little market with unique items to buy.
On Monday morning, I really didn't want to leave Kauai OR the fabulous view of the pool at resort! The residents were all so pleasant and helpful, driving was much less stressful than in Dallas, and experiencing the culture firsthand was an honor. If you have a weekend to escape to Kauai, there are plenty of excursions to go on that everyone can enjoy, local markets and events to discover, and tons of delicious food spots full of freshness. I'm still on a high from this trip, but I can't wait to return so I can experience more of the island!
Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by the Kauai Visitor's Bureau, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.