Post-Trip Talk: So Much to Say

IslandofHawaii Trip Styler

[trip style = sun + luxury] 

These days, when I return home from a trip, I have so much to say I don't even know where to start. There's the luxury angle, the food angle, the family angle, or a trip styled guide of all the cool finds; however, all of this takes a lot of timetime that is in short supply when there's two little ones running around my HQ {and my mind}, and I'm continuing to contribute stories to numerous travel publications. So, instead of writing about everything here on TS, lately, I say nothing at all, which is a highly unusual statement for a blogger...

Trip Styler V. 2017
Enter Trip Styler, version 2017. I'm going to write more, write often, and write in the moment to avoid a backlog of prose and pictures. I'm going fling open the window into life as a Trip Styler, because not every day is spent at the beach with a bottle of bubbles! I wish.

In this spirit, let me start to tell you about our trip November 2016 to the Island of Hawaii: part reporting, part vacation, all fabulous.

On the Suite Life
Unsure of how to handle an infant and a toddler in a standard hotel roomwe'll get there, eventuallywe stayed in a two-bedroom suite at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, a two-bed cottage at Puakea Ranch, and in two adjoining hotel rooms at The Fairmont Orchid. This was our {successful!} attempt at avoiding a chorus of night and nap wake-ups with little ones. 

Like a Supermodel
By design, we spent part of our time on the coast and part our time in the upcountry. The Island of Hawaii is best explored at all altitudes due to its unique blend of climate zones, as in, if you were keen, you could: play in the snow, play at the beach, go for a swim, hike to a waterfall, marvel at a botanical garden, ride a horse, pick a papaya, and walk beside molten lava all in one day. In short, the place is like a supermodel; blessed at every angle:  

IMG_0891.jpg

Over the coming weeks I'll "unpack" the trip to guide you toward our TS Island of Hawaii faves. In the meantime, check out my photos on Instagram --> @TripStyler.

Related
Alaska Airlines Adds More Aloha

[photos by @tripstyler]

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

As I write this gift guide, the forecast is calling for our first snow of the season and I'm two hot apple ciders deep. Dig out the wrapping paper and blanket scarves because it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This year, we've selected 10 gift ideas for travelers, from budget-friendly stocking stuffers to stylish splurges. Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Trip Styler team!

1/ The Poglia Porter :: It's never easy traveling with a brimmed hat unless you're prepared to wear it on every travel day. This stylish tote solves that problem with its signature hat-holding feature. Fashion and function have never looked so good!

2/ Away Carry-On :: Speaking of fashion and function, we've had our eyes on this good-looking, tech-friendly carry-on all year. This start-up luggage company offers lightweight, flexible, scratch-proof hard shell bags with a built-in battery for usb phone charging. 

3/ Charging Cord Tassel Keychain :: Speaking of clever charging, this keychain is not only a handy charging cord, but also a superlative stocking stuffer.

4/ Aesop Rinse-Free Hand Wash :: Speaking of stocking stuffers, we haven't been this excited about hand sanitizer since our late 90s Bath and Body Works phase. Shout out to our favorite scents: cucumber melon and plumeria. This hipster hand sanitizer is a traveler's best friend.

5/ Herschel Supply Kids Backpack :: Speaking of hipsters, these backpacks are the perfect gift for the traveling tot whose wardrobe is already better than yours. Thankfully, they come in adult sizes too ;-)

6/ Reks Optics Sunglasses :: Speaking of adult sizes, this new line of bendy sunglasses claims to have 10 times the shatter resistance of glass and plastic. Create the look you want from six frames, three lenses and lots of color options. We like the round frame and mirrored, polarized lenses.

7/ Island Girl Cosmetics Nail Color :: Speaking of color options, we stock up on these fast-drying nail polishes at the ABC Store every time we hit the Aloha State.

8/ Lavanila Travel-Size Deodorant :: Speaking of fast-drying time, this natural, aluminum-free deodorant will have you smelling like a tropical cocktail as fast as you can say Mele Kalikimaka. Trip Styler Tip: If you're switching to a more natural deodorant for the first time, it may take your body a few weeks to adjust, so keep it on hand for a midday application just in case!

9/ Trip Styler Store Finds :: Speaking of the tropics, we picked up these beauties in Bali and Thailand. We love the flat-packing grass-weave clutch and stone bead tassel necklace. We also love the weight and texture of the 100% cotton towels we found in Morocco.

10/ Hotel Gift Card :: Speaking of Bali, how about a visit to the Fairmont Sanur Beach or the Four Seasons Resort at Sayan? Give the gift of a night away (or four!) with a hotel gift card — most luxury hotel brands offer them, and they're a smart way to give the gift of travel to those you love. Icing on the pillow-top cake? Offer to babysit {where necessary, of course}.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Past Trip Styler Gift Guides
2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009

Alaska Airlines Adds MORE Aloha {BLI to KOA}

alaska airlines + hawaii island

[trip style = sun + beach]

Earlier this year I was asked if I would be interested in covering the inaugural {and nonstop!} Alaska Airlines flight from Bellingham, Washington to Kona, Hawaii. Obviously... Hawaii is ALWAYS a good idea, and I *really* love the island's ultra-tropical cocktail blending sand-sational coastal life with otherworldly landscapes in the upcountry. I'm also a superfan of Alaska Airlinesin my opinion they have THE best customer service AND mileage program in North Americaso the answer was an immediate, YES. {As always, I'm not being paid to say this; Alaska is my go-to airline for US travel.}

Instead of going solo on a quick reporting trip, I decided to bring all the Stylers using my Alaska Airlines Mastercard companion pass for Mr. Trip Styler and Blue Styler {Pink Styler flies for free because she is under 2}. 

I'm writing about this Vancouver-vicinity to Hawaii flight because it's a big deal. Currently, WestJet is the only carrier to do a direct from Vancouver to Kona {Air Canada starts seasonal service mid-December}, and it's not my favorite as the WJ flight times run in red-eye territory making it tough to adjust between time zones. Enter the new Alaska flight, which leaves in the morn from Bellingham and comes back to the mainland at 1pm, and the Bellingham Airport is just 20-minute jaunt from the border {or one hour from downtown Vancouver}. 

The Details
Alaska Airlines nonstop service from Bellingham to Kona just started on November 12th, 2016 and runs until April 1, 2017. The fuel-efficient next-gen Boeing 737 aircraft offers a three-and-three seating configuration and departs once weekly every Saturday. As for entertainment, you can connect to Alaska's inflight entertainment through your own device, or on a pre-loaded tablet they rent at the beginning of the journey.  

Not that you need any convincing to hightail it to the Island of Hawaii, buuuuuuuuuut:

Walking on the beach at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, a gorgeous stay edging the sunny Kohala Coast

Walking on the beach at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, a gorgeous stay edging the sunny Kohala Coast

Turtles in Anaeho'omalu Bay, otherwise known as "A Bay"

Turtles in Anaeho'omalu Bay, otherwise known as "A Bay"

Pololu Valley Lookout, a must-do viewpoint and hike overlooking the island's northeastern coastline

Pololu Valley Lookout, a must-do viewpoint and hike overlooking the island's northeastern coastline

Upcountry yee-haw: Horseback riding on an 11,000-acre working ranch stretching from the rainforest to the sea with Paniolo Adventures.

Upcountry yee-haw: Horseback riding on an 11,000-acre working ranch stretching from the rainforest to the sea with Paniolo Adventures.

Savoring the sunset and farm- and fish-to-fork cuisine at The CanoeHouse, a Hawaii must-eat since 1989.

Savoring the sunset and farm- and fish-to-fork cuisine at The CanoeHouse, a Hawaii must-eat since 1989.

Sunset views c/o the Island of Hawaii

Sunset views c/o the Island of Hawaii

[Photos taken by @tripstyler, except the lead snap, courtesy of Alaska Airlines]

Montana on my Mind :: Whitefish

whitefish montana guide

[trip style = adventure + food/wine]

{Editor's Note: This is the second post in a multipart series on Montana. Don't miss part one.} 

Like the rest of Montana, you breathe deeper in Whitefish, Big Sky Country's prime adventuretown at the cusp of the continental divide. Sure, the far-reaching forests add an oxygen boost to the air quality, but it's more than that. The ultra-kind western hospitality helps, too. As do the 360-degree mountain views, glacial lakes and raging rivers. Mostly, the air up there is filled with a spirit of creativity sparked by a place that fuels passions.

"Take a quiet walk with nature; it will nurture your mind, body, and soul."
- Anthony Douglas Williams  

As I wander our planet, I've noticed a commonality in every area code: Those who are inspired by their environment create well whether that's cuisine, handicrafts or art. Whitefish is a good example of this. The nature-centric activities—cue residents traipsing around town in their fly fishing waders, cycling armor, or hiking boots—encourage a well of inspiration. The result: A cool town where locals live life to the fullest at every elevation. 

Inspired by this place and its pursuits, here are the trip styled spots to stay, shop, sip and eat in Whitefish, Montana:  

Shop :: Miakoda in Stumptown Marketplace. I wanted to buy e-v-e-r-y piece of leather in this shop, though with only a carry-on in tow, I chose something small: A leather necklace. Using local hides in most of her designs, shopgal Alexandra relocated to Montana to explore her passion for leather-making and life in the rugged wild. 

Shop :: Miakoda in Stumptown Marketplace. I wanted to buy e-v-e-r-y piece of leather in this shop, though with only a carry-on in tow, I chose something small: A leather necklace. Using local hides in most of her designs, shopgal Alexandra relocated to Montana to explore her passion for leather-making and life in the rugged wild. 

Shop :: Meriwether of Montana, a cheeky-cool gift shop—so popular they are now selling their wares across the country—with campy mugs, handkerchiefs, and humorous keychains with inscriptions such as "Humble with a dash of Kanye," scattered throughout the store. 

Shop :: Meriwether of Montana, a cheeky-cool gift shopso popular they are now selling their wares across the countrywith campy mugs, handkerchiefs, and humorous keychains with inscriptions such as "Humble with a dash of Kanye," scattered throughout the store. 

Shop :: Harlow. If I lived in Whitefish, I'd buy my entire wardrobe here. When I visited, I became a regular stopping in to chat with staff and try on the gorgeous garments ranging from Mother Denim jeans to Free People dresses to Cleobella bags.   

Shop :: Harlow. If I lived in Whitefish, I'd buy my entire wardrobe here. When I visited, I became a regular stopping in to chat with staff and try on the gorgeous garments ranging from Mother Denim jeans to Free People dresses to Cleobella bags.   

Eat :: Sweet Peaks. Sweet Peaks is delicious in every way from its local dairy and oh-so Montana flavors. Hello huckleberry, and cardamom plum swirl, my mouth was VERY pleased to meet you. 

Eat :: Sweet Peaks. Sweet Peaks is delicious in every way from its local dairy and oh-so Montana flavors. Hello huckleberry, and cardamom plum swirl, my mouth was VERY pleased to meet you. 

Sip :: Spotted Bear Spirits. Enter the bar of my dreams with its leather-bound menus, wildflower-filled vases and ultra-local spirit{s}. Stop in for a sip of their vodka, gin or liqueurs, or stay awhile and have a craft cocktail or two. Cheers.

Sip :: Spotted Bear Spirits. Enter the bar of my dreams with its leather-bound menus, wildflower-filled vases and ultra-local spirit{s}. Stop in for a sip of their vodka, gin or liqueurs, or stay awhile and have a craft cocktail or two. Cheers.

Stay :: The Firebrand Hotel. Located in downtown Whitefish, this property is the newest and most boutique addition to the town's growing list of accoms.  

Stay :: The Firebrand Hotel. Located in downtown Whitefish, this property is the newest and most boutique addition to the town's growing list of accoms.  

[Photos taken by @tripstyler—except lead and firebrand courtesy of town/hotel—when I visited Montana in partnership with Expedia. As you know, I only write about what I LOVE.]

Montana on my Mind

montana

[trip style = adventure]

{Editor's Note: This is part one of a multipart series on Montana. Check out part two about Whitefish, the state's creative-cool adventuretown.}

Despite its A-list appeal {you KNOW a ton of celebs have estates in Montana, right?}, you don't see too many photos of Big Sky Country splashed across the media, like St. Tropez or Capri. Why? Well, it's very hush-hush. When heads of state, CEOs and stars arrive, they don't parade around in paparazzi-ready outfits or fancy wheels; instead they "get lost" in Montana's 94,109,542 acres of rolling hills, dude ranches and snow-capped peaks. 

Many travel stories talk about the merits of getting lost, proclaiming this is when you'll "be found," or find what you're looking for; rest, relaxation, insight, love, etc... At the risk of being cliché, I had a sense of that foundness. I found peace losing myself in Montana's natural state pairing straight-up nature and good country folk.

Unhindered by mega-cities or shiny anything, I saw why Montanansboth the born and bred and those who've relocated for a reality check and resthave a deep reverence for their stomping grounds. Sure, private jets come and go, but Montana stays the same, and that's its magic.

Here are a few highlights from my trip a few months ago.

[Photos taken by @tripstyler when I visited Montana with a group of travel writers from around the world. As always, I only write about what I LOVE, and I'm already planning my next trip to Glacier Country with the rest of Trip Styl'in crew. Yahoo!]