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I used to brush Hawaii aside, having hailed from a tropical country full of white sandy, unspoiled beaches and all. The ocean used to be my playground, although it is quite ironic that I never really learned how to swim.

My old opinion of “lowly” Hawai’i was years and years ago though. Nowadays, I could never think of paradise and not imagine the beautiful Hawaiian islands of Kauai and the Big Island whose allure is quite potent. Being there is ethereal, quite frankly. Hawaii evoked powerful emotions inside of me from the very moment I laid eyes on the breathtaking Napali coast and its remote beaches, turquoise waters and jagged cliffs. I instantly felt effusive gratitude to be living on this remarkable planet, during this time and in this place.

In Hawaii, all worries dissipate, senses are heightened and colors are exaggerated. The wind whispers to me like a siren – beckoning, teasing and seducing me to come to the water and wash my worries away. Time stands still. It waits for me to find my unalloyed happiness, right under the coconut tree where the temperate breeze is my music, the hammock my castle and the splashing water my muse, inspiring me to write again. Within several days, I am back to imagining myself writing like Hemingway.

Between daydreaming, endless musings and lounging at the beach, I still managed to find multitudes of ways to experience Hawaii. Here are some of my favorite things to do:

  • Flirting with danger on the surfer beach in Poipu
  • Zip lining over a vast canyon with a private waterfalls and lush plantation as backdrop
  • Getting lost inside a private waterfalls
  • Yachting on the turquoise waters of Napali
  • Observing the dolphins and the green turtles in their wild habitat
  • Enjoying the resplendent aerial view from a private helicopter
  • Off-roading to some remote green beach with the locals

[Click the pictures to see large images in gallery format]

I honestly cannot remember how I was able to find my way back to San Francisco after that trip. It was such an astonishing vacation. I cannot wait to be back in the island paradise of Hawaii, a tiny sliver of heaven on earth!

One last thing: just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have the license to slack on your fashion sense. Au contraire, it is the perfect time to show off your versatile style and dress according to occasions because quite frankly, travel and fashion should always go hand in hand! Most of the outfits shown here are from Forever21. The rest were bought locally in Hawaii.

Here are some more travel photos: Turkey and Petra, Jordan.