Thursday, January 30, 2014

Island Treasure Hunt Revisited

The almost uninhabited south side of Maui


I am in dire need of a vacation right now. Anyone with me? While I'm thankful that I had two days to decompress over the Thanksgiving holiday, spending two days cooking for family is still a lot of work, and I have the burns to prove it.

The whole time, I was thinking about my friends Amber & Tom, who were vacationing in Maui with their family. While she was there, I sent her an archived copy of of a column I wrote a few years back while on my honeymoon. I told her that one day, while driving the road to Hana, we hid a secret treasure near a swimming hole by a waterfall. To my knowledge, that treasure is still there, waiting to be discovered, and the column contains the GPS coordinates to the aforementioned treasure.

Unfortunately, the road to Hana was sort of a bust for Amber and the family. More than half of them got carsick, which tends to happen when touring that island road if it's not done at a truly leisurely pace. So I still don't know if my hidden treasure is still there, waiting to be discovered. So I'm tossing out there again, like gold dust in the wind.

If you happen to take a trip to the islands anytime in the near future, keep this column in your bookmarks, and don't forget to stream the Aloha Playlist included below.  Even if you, just like me, can only dream of the islands right now, the playlist might help transport you to a sunny beach with a Mai Tai in your hand, waves lapping at your feet, and a Polynesian in a grass skirt fanning you with a palm frond. Oh, the islands.

 I'm an island girl. And I think I have the right to call myself that, because for a huge chunk of my adult life, I've lived on islands. The day after I graduated from college, I flew off to Greece and lived for several months on the island of Crete. At the end of the summer I traded an arid, Mediterranean island for an extremely wet island in the rainforest of Alaska. Decades later, it seems like all my vacations take me to islands. I've been to Jamaica, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and these days I seem to keep ending up in the Hawaiian Islands.

When I started writing today's column, I was actually on the Hawaiian island of Maui, on my honeymoon (which we couldn't take until 6 months into the marriage). But as you read this, I'm back. But I'm still stuck on the island music, and by the time I'm done with you today, I'm hoping you'll be just as stuck as I am. And I'll get back to the music, in a little bit, but first let me tell you about my island treasure hunt. Right after you enjoy a little bit of music from my current favorite Hawaiian swing band, Kahulanui. Can't get them on today's playlist for you, but here's the Grammy nominated band's video that played on the big screen in the airplane on the flight over!



The day we arrived on Maui, one of my husband's family members, Toni, was also there, just getting ready to leave the next day. We weren't able to connect in person, so my husband challenged her to bury a hidden treasure for us somewhere on the island, and leave us a map to find it. Here's the first creative clue we received on Facebook. Very clever, dontcha think?


We ended up driving down to the Maalaea Harbor where we headed out on a whale watching and sunset dinner cruise with the fantastic crew of the Quicksilver. But before we did, we followed a few more picture clues and got within just a few feet of our treasure before we finally gave up and called Toni so she could lead us the rest of the way to the booty. Turned out that it was hidden behind some rocks, where she'd drawn a big X, but it had washed off in a cloudburst the night before.

We had so much fun searching for our buried treasure, that we thought we'd leave a hidden treasure map of our own, to lead other friends to our favorite little spot on Maui. I'm not going to tell you what we hid, but you'll know it if you find it. Just know that the real treasure is the beautiful locale, not what you'll hold in your hand once you find it.  Our map wasn't quite as clever as Toni's, but if you take a trip to Maui in the near future and decide to brave the road to Hana, I think this map will pretty easily lead you to the hidden island treasure!

If this is too small for you to read (and these days I wear reading glasses over my contact lenses, so it's too small for me), here's the Island Hidden Treasure Map, easily explained:

  • On Maui, from Paia, head out on the curvy road to Hana.
  • Just before the 10 mile marker, at the 10th one lane bridge, pull over & park.
  • Take the path on the north side to the waterfall. It's not far.
  • At the end of the asphalt, take 32 paces.
  • Look to your right, eye level (if you're about 5' 5").
  • Your treasure is behind the rocks.

I promise, you'll be glad you went to this little spot! If you ever actually go, please put another little treasure in the same spot so that someone else can enjoy it. Think of it as island geocaching. Speaking of geocaching, here's your coordinates.

OK, back to the music! We've got more treasure to dig up! Besides the waterfalls and the map to buried treasure, one of the other things we really loved about our honeymoon on Maui was all the island music on the radio. You might think that one station could satisfy everyone's needs for island music, but you'd be so wrong! Hawaii has one station for Reggae (which isn't exactly authentically Hawaiian, but it does embody the laid back attitude of Maui, so its very popular and seem to fit right in). There's another for contemporary Hawaiian music, one with Hawaiian music that appeals to the older crowd, and yet another for Hawaiian cowboy music. I'm not even joking. It's not like country music over on the mainland, this is Paniolo….Hawaiian Cowboy music.  There's island music everywhere you turn on this island, and when you're driving on Maui's road to Hana, there's a LOT of turns.

So turn the volume up, and enjoy today's Island Treasure Hunt playlist. It's a mixture of Reggae, Hawaiian slack key, ukelele, hula, steel drum, island chant, and a few other island songs threw in just for fun.

Aloha!

To hear the Aloha streaming playlist, just click on the arrow below the written playlist, or head over to Spotify.

Island Treasure Hunt

The almost uninhabited south side of Maui
I'm an island girl. And I think I have the right to call myself that, because for a huge chunk of my adult life, I've lived on islands. The day after I graduated from college, I flew off to Greece and lived for several months on the island of Crete. At the end of the summer I traded an arid, Mediterranean island for an extremely wet island in the rainforest of Alaska. Decades later, it seems like all my vacations take me to islands. I've been to Jamaica, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and these days I seem to keep ending up in the Hawaiian Islands.
When I started writing today's column, I was actually on the Hawaiian island of Maui, on my honeymoon (which we couldn't take until 6 months into the marriage). But as you read this, I'm back. But I'm still stuck on the island music, and by the time I'm done with you today, I'm hoping you'll be just as stuck as I am. And I'll get back to the music, in a little bit, but first let me tell you about my island treasure hunt. Right after you enjoy a little bit of music from my current favorite Hawaiian swing band, Kahulanui. Can't get them on today's playlist for you, but here's the Grammy nominated band's video that played on the big screen in the airplane on the flight over!



The day we arrived on Maui, one of my husband's family members, Toni, was also there, just getting ready to leave the next day. We weren't able to connect in person, so my husband challenged her to bury a hidden treasure for us somewhere on the island, and leave us a map to find it. Here's the first creative clue we received on Facebook. Very clever, dontcha think?


We ended up driving down to the Maalaea Harbor where we headed out on a whale watching and sunset dinner cruise with the fantastic crew of the Quicksilver. But before we did, we followed a few more picture clues and got within just a few feet of our treasure before we finally gave up and called Toni so she could lead us the rest of the way to the booty. Turned out that it was hidden behind some rocks, where she'd drawn a big X, but it had washed off in a cloudburst the night before.

We had so much fun searching for our buried treasure, that we thought we'd leave a hidden treasure map of our own, to lead other friends to our favorite little spot on Maui. I'm not going to tell you what we hid, but you'll know it if you find it. Just know that the real treasure is the beautiful locale, not what you'll hold in your hand once you find it.  Our map wasn't quite as clever as Toni's, but if you take a trip to Maui in the near future and decide to brave the road to Hana, I think this map will pretty easily lead you to the hidden island treasure!

If this is too small for you to read (and these days I wear reading glasses over my contact lenses, so it's too small for me), here's the Island Hidden Treasure Map, easily explained:

  • On Maui, from Paia, head out on the curvy road to Hana.
  • Just before the 10 mile marker, at the 10th one lane bridge, pull over & park.
  • Take the path on the north side to the waterfall. It's not far.
  • At the end of the asphalt, take 32 paces.
  • Look to your right, eye level (if you're about 5' 5").
  • Your treasure is behind the rocks.

I promise, you'll be glad you went to this little spot! If you ever actually go, please put another little treasure in the same spot so that someone else can enjoy it. Think of it as island geocaching. Speaking of geocaching, here's your coordinates.

OK, back to the music! We've got more treasure to dig up! Besides the waterfalls and the map to buried treasure, one of the other things we really loved about our honeymoon on Maui was all the island music on the radio. You might think that one station could satisfy everyone's needs for island music, but you'd be so wrong! Hawaii has one station for Reggae (which isn't exactly authentically Hawaiian, but it does embody the laid back attitude of Maui, so its very popular and seem to fit right in). There's another for contemporary Hawaiian music, one with Hawaiian music that appeals to the older crowd, and yet another for Hawaiian cowboy music. I'm not even joking. It's not like country music over on the mainland, this is Paniolo….Hawaiian Cowboy music.  There's island music everywhere you turn on this island, and when you're driving on Maui's road to Hana, there's a LOT of turns.

So turn the volume up, and enjoy today's Island Treasure Hunt playlist. It's a mixture of Reggae, Hawaiian slack key, ukelele, hula, steel drum, island chant, and a few other island songs threw in just for fun.

Aloha!

To hear the Island Treasure Hunt streaming playlist, just click on the arrow below the written playlist, or head over to Spotify.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Remember when the original Mozart Effect study came out in the 90's that claimed exposing babies to classical music (even in the womb) would make them smarter? That study has been expanded, but according to a recent article in The Guardian, it's really hard to measure. Read all about it here.

One thing's for sure: exposing children to classical music can only increase its future audience and keep stations like JPR relevant. Wanna know what I, as the mother & stepmom to a couple of teenagers, think might actually make new millenium kids listen to more classical music? Remixing it with Dubstep.

 And just in case you're wondering, yes. It's actually being done.
 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How To Have A Happy New Year

I think I'm old enough now that I can finally admit that I'm too old for this crap.
And by that, I mean I'm too old for partying til I puke, staying up all night long, mixing my liquor, and sleeping next to the toilet on the cold tile of the bathroom floor while my head spins. I'm talking 'bout New Year's Eve.
And I can say that now, now that the whole thing is over, and we're all on our way to recovering from whatever debaucherous things we did to ourselves over the holiday, most of us actually looking forward to going back to school or work next week.

But after years of hoping to find some incredible, noteworthy way to celebrate New Year's Eve in a memorable way, I think I've finally hit my stride. Here's what we do:

1: Make a game plan. One of the most important things I've learned how to do my 2nd time around in marriage is to talk about how we'd like our night to go in advance. I know. We're brilliant. In actuality, we've learned from our mistakes. Which makes us really fricking brilliant.
2: Find somewhere to eat dinner. Nowhere fancy for us, because we can't be bothered to plan in advance. For the past few years, we've had Thai food.
3: Find a party with the following:
     A) Awesome people
     B) Music we can dance to
     C) Plenty of champagne (fortunately we were able to nail all 3 of these essentials in one location)
4: Leave early. Not because we're trying to fly under the radar, so to speak, of the authorities (because lucky me, my husband is always the designated driver), but because of the next items on my list, which I'll just roll into one big item.
5: Go home. Put on pajamas. Get into bed. Turn on TV. Wonder if we'll still be awake when the ball drops at midnight so we can share the first kiss of the next year. Not give a shit. Start kissing because we're so happy to be with each other right now. Go to sleep in each other's arms.
6: Wake up to the first day of the new year with no hangover!

I wouldn't have dreamed of staying home on New Year's Eve in the past, but I have to admit that it's starting to sound more and more inviting every year.

But for all of you party animals, today's Mistress of the Mix is a tribute to a more traditional New Year's Eve, beginning with summoning up the courage to ask the cutest hottie you know out for a night on the town, moving on to to the party to end all parties, a champagne toast, a midnight kiss, a little too much to drink, followed by the dreaded hangover.

Happy 2014, y'all!

Join me in a musical re-enactment of the penultimate New Year's Eve by clicking on the play arrow below, or go directly to the Grooveshark New Year's Eve streaming playlist.

New Year's Eve by Valerie Ing-Miller on Grooveshark
  1. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Rufus Wainwright
  2. Bringing In A Brand New Year - B.B. King
  3. Happy New Year - Kid Rock
  4. Song For The New Year - Bing Crosby
  5. Puttin' On The Ritz- Taco
  6. A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody - Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock
  7. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
  8. We Come To Party - NTyce
  9. Good Times - Chic
  10. Champagne Life - Ne-Yo
  11. Drunk - Ed Sheeran
  12. Auld Lang Syne - APM
  13. Midnight In Her Eyes - The Black Keys
  14. Past Midnight - APM
  15. Midnight Rider - Allman Brothers
  16. After New Year's Eve - The Heartbeats
  17. New Year's Day - U2
  18. Hangover - Tao Cruz
  19. When The Hangover Strikes - Squeeze