Could You Be More Canadian (Nicer) On Social Media?

It is well known that Canadians are friendly people. Our favourite word is sorry, we eternally wave when people let us in on the road and we pay it forward in the Tim Hortons line. I personally consider myself a friendly Canadian and a conscientious person. So when I see bad behaviour and poor manners on social media, I feel that people could learn a few things from us. Let’s just be a little kinder to one another with these three simple tips;

1. Support One Another

The whole point of social media is to interact with one another. This is my favourite part of it; that we can connect with people from all over the world that we wouldn’t have met otherwise. Social media is not all about you. It is about connecting and engaging with one another and showing your support for the ones you have decided to follow. So show some love and comment a bit more. I am super supportive of people that I know in real life, as I like to see what they are up to. Some of these people have never liked a single post I have put up; and I am not posting pics of my half eaten lunch! This boggles my mind. I think some people post things and then don’t bother to look at anyone else’s. What is the point of that?!? Let’s show some more support and stick around to see what people are doing.

2. Say Thank You

This should be a given, but thank someone when they leave a nice comment by liking their comment or commenting back. I am surprised that a lot of people, especially those with larger accounts don’t do this. I will often go through the list of people that liked my posts, see if I missed some of their content and send back some likes. This might be taking things to an extreme, but like I said I am a contentious Canadian!

3. Don’t Use People to Get Ahead

Some of you may or may not know about the follow/unfollower. This is a person that follows you in hope that you will follow them back. Once you follow them back, they quickly unfollow you and hope you don’t notice. It is a way for this person to build a large following by fooling others into following them. This is my biggest pet peeve on social media. I can see one of these people from a mile away as they usually have about 50k Followers, follow about 1000 and have mediocre (but sometimes good) content. This practice is completely self serving, rude and unethical. If a business does this to me it makes me question their integrity. This really goes against everything that social media is intended for as it is very one sided.

To this date, I have been a victim of the follow/unfollower 1325 times on Instagram! To identify these people I have the Follower App which shows me who has unfollowed, deleted likes and comments etc. No matter how you try and justify follow/unfollowing to yourself, don’t do it! I could have tens of thousands of followers by now if I used this method, but I’d rather maintain my integrity and do things the old fashion way. Just ask yourself, what would a Canadian do?

I hope I have inspired you to be a little more thoughtful on social media. What are some of your pet peeves on social media or the blogger world? I would love to hear your opinions!

Thanks for stopping by,

Kira

Dream Vacation Rental: Paris Perfect

Oh Paris! The city of love, the capital of fashion and the home of the Eiffel Tower. What is not to love?

My husband and I visited last August for our 10 year wedding Anniversary and we wanted to stay somewhere special. We usually rent through VRBO and AirBnB, but I could not find anything great on their sites. Luckily, I stumbled across Paris Perfect, which is a vacation rental company ran by an American couple.

Paris Perfect has apartments in various arrondissements in the city. One of their specialties are rentals in the 7th with Eiffel Tower views. There are many options and price points on their website. It is hard to narrow down which apartment to stay in, as they are all beautiful in their own unique way.

We stayed at the Chatillon, which is on Avenue Charles Floquet, a quiet street just across from the Champ de Mars. This gorgeous apartment has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, and an abundance of space by European standards.

The apartment was built in the early 1900s after the construction of the Eiffel Tower. The original details of the apartment are stunning. Everything from the chevron wood floors to the impressive white mouldings set the tone for the space.

The owner of Paris Perfect decorates the apartments and she has an amazing eye for detail. This apartment is so chic with the rich purple tones, velvet textiles and gorgeous gold chandeliers. Often when we rent places, the photos are better than reality, but I would have to say the opposite with this apartment. The photos don’t do it justice!

The piece de resistance of this apartment was it’s balcony over looking the Eiffel Tower. We ate breakfast here in the morning and enjoyed the view in the daylight. At night we would sit and watch the tower sparkle with a glass of wine. It felt like we had front row seats to the best show in Paris!

The location of the apartment was excellent for exploring the city. We walked as far as St. Germain des Pres one night and strolled along the Seine River. The city sure was alive at night with people partying in the street and drinking wine along the Seine.

We enjoyed walking to the Rue Cler market to stock up on croissants and other goodies. It was never hard to find our way back to the apartment as the Eiffel Tower was always our landmark. Every outing ended with a stroll through the Champ de Mars. There was usually a sea of people picnicking and admiring the Eiffel Tower.

I could go on and on about this apartment and all the technical details. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments.

We have vacationed in some beautiful homes throughout our travels, but I have never stayed anywhere quite like this. Truly felt like a fairytale. Hoping you will add this one to your bucket list.

Chatillon Apartment- Paris Perfect

Happy Travels,

Kira

10 Most Instagrammable Spots on Maui

In the words of Lil Jon “Shots! Shots! Shots! Everbody!” I am not talking about the Tequila variety, but the elusive Instagram vacation photo. We all want to get great photos while on vacation. Some put a little more time and effort than others. I would like to categorize myself as an extremist when it comes to this.

Prior to our Maui vacation, my husband and I scouted out some of the best locations to get photos on the island. There is so much beauty and variety of landscapes on Maui, so we wanted to capture a little bit of everything.

If you are visiting Maui, then I hope I have removed some of the leg work for you. Here are some of the shots that made it to my Instagram feed:

1. Surfboard Fence

There are several surfboard fences in the town of Paia. This one is the brightest and easiest to photograph. If you are in downtown Paia, it is located several blocks south on Baldwin Ave. in the residential area.

2. The Bamboo Forest

The Bamboo Forest is along the Pipiwai Trail on the Road to Hana. Most photograph the boardwalk, but we wanted to do something a bit more creative. If you are going to venture off the trail, look out for spiders!

3. The Grand Wailea

The Grand Wailea is a quintessential Hawaiian resort. There are so many great backdrops for photos here. You do not have to be a guest to visit the resort. I recommend strolling along the grounds and having diner at their restaurant Huma Huma. It is easy to get lost here!

4. Haleakala

A trip to Maui would not be complete without a photo of a sunset or sunrise at the Haleakala Summit. If you are going for the sunrise, make sure to make a reservation in advance and dress warm! It was 40 degrees Fahrenheit and very windy when we visited.

5. Sunflower Fields

When you think of Hawaii, you probably wouldn’t think sunflower fields. But along the junction of the Kuihelani and Honoapi’ilani Highway you will find acres of them. You can pull your car over on the highway to take a photo, just be mindful of your step.

6. Waterfall

If you want to photograph a waterfall on Maui, then you need to go on the Road to Hana. This particular one is the at mile marker 45 and is called the Wailua Falls. If you don’t want to drive far, then the Twin Falls at mile marker 2 are a good option. You will have to go very early or very late to get an unobstructed photo.

7. Beach

It is no argument that Maui has the best beaches in Hawaii, so it won’t be hard to find a good spot. This photo was taken at Little Beach in Makena. What makes this beach specific to Maui is the view of islands Molokini and Kaho’olawe.

8. Underwater

Maui has crystal clear waters, which makes it fun to take underwater photos. We bought a waterproof Olympus TG-5 and it served us well. This particular shot was taken at Big Beach by the reef. Another great place to get underwater photos is by Molikini. I recommend taking a snorkel cruise as the reefs here are incredible.

9. Valley

Maui is named the Valley Isle for good reason. This photo was taken at the Iao Valley, but there are a few others on the island. These are always the most beautiful and awe inspiring areas in Hawaii.

10. Lava Field

The Hawaiian islands were born from Valcanoes. It is amazing how all the dark landscapes became lush and beautiful with time. This lava hike is at the end Makena Rd. and is called the Hoapili Trail. It is a reminder of how barren the islands once were.

If you have been to Maui and have any other suggestions for photo locations, please let me know in the comments. Also, I really enjoy following fellow bloggers on Instagram. If you would like me to check out your page, leave your IG name in the comments.

You can see more of my Maui and travel photos on my Instagram @Kira.Canadian.Girl

Happy Travels,

Kira Canadian Girl

Affordable Vacation Haul: Shein and Zaful

When you live in Canada, it is difficult to find vacation wear during our -40 degree weather. I wanted to get a bunch of new outfits for our winter vacations and didn’t want to spend too much, as I hate returning things in the mail. I had heard a lot about Shein and Zaful and wanted to give them a try. My expectations were very low and I was pleasantly surprised when my orders arrived. Here is what I ended up with:

1. White Backless Dress

This white backless dress has weight and movement to it. It has an elastic waistband and adjustable straps, so it will fit many different body types. I honestly think it could be worn as a beach wedding dress! At this moment, the dress is out of stock. It is a popular item that they do restock, so look out for it. There is a link below for the same dress in black, which is available.

Lace Overlay Maxi Dress– $31

Dress in Black– $31

2. Jungle Print Romper

This backless romper is a perfect tropical cover up. The material is little strange though; reminded me of the material that tents are made of. It is adjustable at the neck and waist. The colours are vivid and really pop in a tropical setting.

Drawstring Backless Romper– $20.49

3. Floral Wrap Dress

I’m not sure if I would wear this as anything but a cover-up. Any large gust of wind could expose you with this one. That being said, this is a little dressy for a casual day at the beach. I see it more as resort wear than beach wear.

Green Rose Print Dress– $13

4. Red Tribal Print Skirt

Love this breezy and bright skirt. Shein sold out of this skirt just after I bought it, but released something very similar with a drawstring waist.

Tribal Print Maxi Skirt– $16

5. Pink Pleated Skirt with Lace Top

This skirt is a great buy! I tried a similar one on at Club Monaco for almost 5 times the price. The eyelet lace top is beautiful, but provides little support if that is something you require. Really can’t go wrong with this outfit, which cost $42. Got lots of compliments at the fancy resort we stayed at. If they only knew!!!

Pleated Full Length Skirt – $31

Eyelash Lace Crop Top– $11

6. Burgundy Cover Up

This cover-up is shear and has two slits in the front. The colour is gorgeous and it has great movement for those long walks on the beach (or long walks through lava fields, which is what we did).

Plunge Neck Cover Up– $13

7. Mesh Embroidered Top

Absolutely in love with this mesh top! How can you go wrong for $8?! It did come with some loose threads that I had to trim, but I still have no idea how this costs so little with all the intricate details.

Flower Embroidery Mesh Top– $8

8. White Linen Backless Romper

These photos don’t show enough detail, but this romper is a beach essential. It is deep cut in the front and backless. Very Marilyn Monroe looking, but more subdued with the beachy linen fabric. You could dress this up or down, so it is very versatile.

Plunge Drawstring Linen Romper– $16.49

I was beyond happy with all my purchases from Shein and Zaful. I was expecting things not to fit or look good on me, but everything did. Some of the items were very tight in the waist as I did not check the size chart and just ordered my usual size. Make sure to look at the size chart before ordering.

In terms of the quality, I would compare the items to those at Forever 21 or H&M. There were a few loose threads that I had to cut off and some of the seams were not sewed to perfection. My tailor was really impressed with the dresses that I took in to be hemmed. She couldn’t figure out how they could sell them so inexpensively.

If you are looking for some outfits for your next vacation or for summer I would check them out. Just allow about 3 weeks for shipping. I honestly could spend hours shopping on there.

Happy Shopping,

Kira Canadian Girl

Maui Off the Beaten Path

Maui is an island filled with natural beauty. While the resort areas have their own perfectly manicured allure, there is so much more to see. On our most recent vacation, we ventured out to a variety of areas on the island. It made us realize how much we have missed on our previous trips. Here is what we discovered and some recommendations for your journey:

1. The Bamboo Forrest

This is a popular hike at the end of the road to Hana. You will need to enter the Haleakala National Park for this one. There is a $25 per car entrance fee, which is good for 3 days. Within the park is the Seven Sacred Pools, various waterfalls and the beautiful Bamboo Forrest. The hike to the forrest is along the Pipiwai Trail, which is a 4 mile round trip. It is pretty mucky and rocky, but manageable for seniors and children. Don’t forget to get your boardwalk shot!

2. Haleakala Ridge Hike

Talk about a change in scenery! We decided to visit the Haleakala Summit the next day as our park pass was good for 3 days. We went from a tropical forrest to a barren landscape in the matter of 24 hours. From 80 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit! This is what I love about Hawaii. There is such variety in the landscape. If you are doing the hike, make sure to dress warm. We always forget how cold it feels up there. Watching the sun rise or set is a must.

3. Iao Valley

If you are looking for beauty in Hawaii, a valley is always a sure thing. The Iao Valley is no exception. A lot of the viewing areas here were closed as the waters had become dangerous. We found a hike off of the upper viewing platform just behind the sign that says “Danger: Do Not Enter.” This hike is steep, narrow and on the side of a cliff. Enter at your own risk! Very glad we did the hike as the views were breathtaking. We ran into others on the trail, so we were not the only ones breaking the rules!

4. Hoapili Trail

There is a hike at the end of Makena Road that you could spend all day on. It passes by beaches with great fishing, a lava field and a black sand beach. Make sure you wear runners as you have to do a lot of navigating. If you want to make it to the black sand beach you will have to scale lava rocks to get there. Allow yourself at least 4 hours if you plan on making it there and back in daylight.

5. The Makawao Forrest

Who knew we would find a Borreal Forrest on a tropical island?! The trees were planted here in the early 1900’s by Europeans and have thrived in the upcountry region. The hike is 6 miles round trip. If you are looking for peace and quiet you will find it here. We only ran into a few people on our 3 hour journey. There is a great setup here for mountain bikers. They have paths, rails and jumps. Didn’t think I would find a Teepee on Maui!

6. Little Beach

I had to add my favourite beach to this list! It is a little off the beaten path as you have to climb up a rocky hill to get here. Access is to the north of of Big Beach in Makena State Park. This is a clothing optional beach with the best waves for boogie boarding and body surfing. There is great snorkelling here as well. On Sunday evenings there is a beach party filled with fire dancers, hula hoopers and lots of Aloha!

While we did a lot on this trip, there is still more to see (which means we have to return). I hope this has given you some ideas for your own trip. Maui has a lot to offer no matter what you are looking for in a vacation.

Happy Travels,

Kira Canadian Girl

Maui Vacation Rental Guide

If you are headed to Maui, a vacation rental may be something to consider. We travel to Hawaii yearly and like to feel at home on vacation. There is something about a hotel that makes us feel uncomfortable and unsettled. With a rental you can cook your own meals, have your own space, and avoid high resort fees. Most rentals will provide extras such as beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, bikes etc. to make your stay more enjoyable.

The sky is the limit in terms of what is offered. If you would like a resort experience, there are rentals such as the Hoolei or Wailea Beach Villas. If you are looking for something remote, there are rentals such as Kula Villa or Hana Hideaway.

The best place to start your search is VRBO and AirBnB. We book 10 months in advance, as the best places book up quickly. We have not been scammed yet, but it has happened to others. To avoid this, look for properties that have several reviews that span over a few years. I have come across some scam listings in my searches. They are usually too good to be true with reviews by fake accounts spanning over a short period of time. Be diligent, as you do not want to show up at your destination to find out your rental doesn’t exist.

Some rentals are managed by the owner, and others are managed by rental companies. We prefer rentals that are managed by companies as the communication, cleanliness and method of payment are superior. We have had two owners ask for payment via money order and both of those places were less than stellar. It is always best to pay through VRBO, AirBnB or a rental agency. If there is an issue with the property there are guarantees when booking through these companies.

We have stayed in four rentals in Maui over the years. Here is a brief overview of the places we have stayed. You can get more information and photos by clicking on the highlighted property name.

1. Haiku Nani

This home is in Haiku, which is a remote country location on the north side of the island. The house sits on an acre of land complete with it’s own botanical garden, view of horse pastures and the ocean.

The home is brand new and is spotless. This area gets a bit more rain and the house is carefully laid out so that you are covered. The lanai is expansive and spotless as well.

This is our new favourite rental as we had no issues with the property and felt completely at home. The area is remote, which means you have to do some driving to get around. Also, there is no AC, but it is not needed here as it cools off at night.

2. Bliss Beach House

This is a beautifully decorated home within a residential neighbourhood in Kihei. It is perfect for families with children as it has it’s own game room and pool. The finishes and decor in this home are impressive. The owner put a lot of thought and effort into this rental.

The location is not as desirable. Some of the surrounding homes are in need of repair. There is a beach down the street that you can walk to, but it is not as nice as the beaches in Wailea. I think this is a good option for a large family that is willing to drive to go to the beach or that just wants to hang out in the backyard pool area.

3. Elua Condo

This condo is situated within Wailea, which is the most beautiful resort area on Maui. It sits on a beachfront complex that has an oceanfront pool and fitness area. The walk to the beach is about 5 minutes from the condo.

The condo itself is spacious, comfortable and clean. It is managed by Ali’i Resorts, which does a towel drop every day and a change of sheets every three days. We loved this condo! The only downside is there was a bit of road noise early in the morning.

4. Wailea’s Best

This condo is also in Wailea and has a resort style pool on the ocean. It is on Keawakapu Beach, which is one of the best beaches on Maui. Our experience here was less than stellar. We always check the mattress when we arrive in a unit. This one had hundreds of little rust coloured stains along the periphery of the mattress. Our first thought was bedbugs! We checked into the Grand Wailea while the owner arranged for pest inspection and a new mattress to be delivered. It was not bedbugs, but mould that was on mattress. Apparently when they renovated they did not replace the mattress.

The rest of the condo was not to our standard of clean and we saw two cockroaches there during our stay! This is an example of a privately managed property, where we paid with a money order. All the reviews were good and condo photographed very well.

There was no way of us knowing the place was not clean. This is one of the risks you take when you go with a vacation rental.

We really enjoyed our stay at the Grand Wailea though. If you are not interested in staying in a rental I would highly recommend this hotel. First class all the way!

Although we have had one bad experience on Maui, we will continue to rent when we visit Hawaii. I hope this has given you some food for thought on your accommodation search.

Here are the links to the rentals and hotel we have stayed in:

Haiku Nani

Bliss Beach House

Elua Condo

Wailea’s Best

Grand Wailea

Happy Travels,

Kira Canadian Girl

Managing a Fear of Flying

A fear of flying is one of the most common phobias around. There is something about being up at 40000 ft. in a tube, with two complete strangers in control, that can put people on edge. I developed my fear after a flight back from Europe. There was a terrible storm in Toronto and we were circling and being rerouted for hours. It felt like the flight would never end. On my next flight a few months later, I started to panic. I felt a loss of control over the situation, felt trapped and wanted to get off. Since then I have been getting myself very worked up about our upcoming flight to Maui. I didn’t know if I could do it. This time I prepared myself to the nth degree. Here are some tips that may help you with your fear:

1. Distractors

You need to keep your brain occupied so your mind doesn’t have a chance to wander. Having music that is calming or uplifting can keep you in a positive mindset. Games can also avert your focus. I downloaded Candy Crush and that helped distract me. Most airlines have in flight movies and TV shows. I watched The Theory of Everything, which is an inspiring movie that helped put my fear in perspective. I have been on a flight where the Wifi has gone down, so I prepared for that as well. I bought an adult colouring book, which really helped focus my attention on something else.

2. Breathe

People tend to breathe very shallowly when they get anxious, which can make things worse. Carbon dioxide levels drop in the bloodstream and blood supply to the brain decreases. This can make you feel light headed and can lead to fainting. Instead, you should take a deep breath in from your nose and exhale through the mouth slowly. You will notice a change in your anxiety level only after a few breaths.

3. Visualization

My mom gave me this tool when I was a little girl and struggling with pain from an ear infection. She told me to imagine I was in the place that made me happiest. I still do this and it works! On the flight you can imagine that you are arriving safely at your destination and are laying on a beach with a Pina Colada in hand.

4. Dress for Success

When you are anxious your body temperature may fluctuate. You may sweat and feel overheated or you may get the chills. Make sure you have layers on that can be remove if you get too hot. I always bring a blanket and warm socks as I seem to get the chills when I get nervous.

5. Positive Self Talk

I am going to put this one out there as it may help you. By telling yourself that you can do it, or that you have done this before, it may help put your fear in perspective and motivate you to get through it. For me, it just escalates things and gets me thinking too much about the situation.

6. Medicate

My goal is always to manage my fear without the use of medication. If I can’t get things under control, however, I like to have something on hand. Your doctor is the best person to talk to about this as they know your medical history and any possible drug interactions. Benzodiazepines can help calm you, but may also make you feel groggy and inattentive. It is best to try it out before your journey so you are aware of any unforeseen side effects.

Luckily, I was able to get through my flight to Maui by using some of the techniques above. I started to panic a bit at the beginning of the flight but used my deep breathing to calm myself down. I was very focussed on my adult colouring book throughout the flight. It took me 5 hours to colour one page! I was pretty proud of myself for getting through it, as I really had myself worked up the weeks prior to the flight. I am a dentist and work with anxious patients everyday. I can really empathize with them, while giving them tools that have helped me along the way. Hoping my tips have helped you as well.

Happy Travels,

Kira Canadian Girl