The 10 Most Charming Towns in Hawaii

A TravelMag survey of 50 travel experts has revealed the ten most charming towns in Hawaii, where stunning natural beauty and a thriving local culture combine to create a truly idyllic destination, utterly different to any other US state.

And so without further ado, here, in alphabetical order, you will find what many consider Hawaii’s most charming towns.


Initial impressions of Haleiwa are of a relaxed, laid back surf town, but dig a little deeper and you soon find its multi-layered appeal. The town is in fact a hub of creative energy and endeavor, with a large number of art galleries dotted throughout its pretty streets, each offering the chance for visitors to pick up some authentic locally produced art for your home. Also to be found here are distinctive plantation-era buildings that hark back to the town’s past, while casual, understated restaurants serve local dishes using original recipes steeped in Hawaii’s culinary folklore.



Sensational views every which way you turn are among the first things to greet visitors to this picture-perfect town, which is cradled by the verdant north shore mountains on one side and the golden sand beaches and crystal clear waters of Hanalei Bay on the other. The town’s idyllic ocean setting makes it a popular spot with watersports fans, while those who venture inland to the town centre find plenty to enjoy too, including historic buildings, art galleries, boutiques, surf and bikini shops and a multitude of restaurants from the casual to the high-end.



Once the epicentre of the region’s now defunct sugar industry, the historical town of Hawi rests gently in the green northern tip of Hawaii. It is home to a delightful smattering of art galleries, boutiques and restaurants set amid colourful plantation buildings, lending the town a bustling and friendly ambience. Whether it’s handmade jewellery, crafts, homemade fudge or 100% Kina coffee, you’re sure to depart with a souvenir or two. As an extra fun fact, Hawi also plays host to the bicycle turnaround of the annual Ironman World Championship.



Lush, green vegetation characterises the town of Hilo more than anything else, owed in part to the fact that it welcomes more rain than any other city in the US. But don’t fret, there are plenty of sun-kissed days to enjoy here too, which may well explain why it made it into our top ten. A University town, it is also brimming with youthful energy, while a weekend farmers’ market adds plenty of character and charm.



The bustling centre of Hawaii’s so-called “Kona Side”, this town is home to a number of historical sites, entertainment venues and shopping opportunities. Dry and sunny, its pristine white sand beaches are perennially busy with sunbathers, snorkelers and swimmers, who help to create a buzzing but relaxed atmosphere. Indeed, snorkeling at sunrise is one of the most popular activities here – we suspect that those who voted for Kailua-Kona to make our top ten will have enjoyed such an opportunity.



Hawaiian mementos, fine artwork, antiques, jewellery and craft items – if you’re keen to pick up gifts and souvenirs during your visit to Hawaii, there’s nowhere better than the fabulous town of Kapaa. It is also a popular spot with watersports enthusiasts, with a store selling a huge variety of aquatic-related garb, gadgets and gizmos. You can even arrange water skiing or kayak rental here. Add to the mix several well regarded restaurants and an atmospheric market, then kapaa’s position in our top en begins to make plenty of sense.



Once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, this historic old town is an intriguing place to explore. It is dotted with interesting landmarks that speak to the town’s past as a whaling village, while there’s also numerous art galleries and unique stores selling unusual wares. The town’s sunny climate and oceanfront setting offers the ideal backdrop for a range of outdoor activities including cycling and surfing, while the winter months present the chance to enjoy a whale watching tour.


Lanai City

Positioned in Hawaii’s highlands, Lanai City is an ideal destination for those who prefer a cooler climate. It is also a great place for finding locally-made gifts and souvenirs including authentic Hawaiian jewellery, art and clothing, while Dole Park is often described as the town’s heartbeat, a scenic meeting place for all ages who come to picnic or simply chat. There are also two exceptional hotels here, one owned by the renowned Four Seasons international hotel group and another a country inn boasting charming plantation-styled décor.

Lanai City


Pretty monkeypod trees flanking quaint old plantation homes is just one of the pleasing scenes that greets you in Na’alehu. Situated near South Point in Hawaii’s Ka’u District, the town is charm personified and, aside from once a year when it hosts a popular Rodeo festival, it generally oozes calm and tranquillity. It is also blessed with natural beauty, thanks to its lush vegetation, green valleys and picturesque hills that surround the town, while nearby black sand beaches attract visitors all year round.


Nestled on the northern coast of the island of Maui, Paia is one of the best towns in Hawaii to visit. Perhaps its defining characteristic is the passion for surfing shared by virtually everyone who lives here – and indeed those who come to visit too, many of whom quickly find themselves immersed in what is more a way of life than just a hobby. Paia is also a fabulous place to pick up souvenirs, with a wide selection of quirky boutiques and gift shops to be found here, all adding to the town’s unique charm.


Article by Paul Joseph

National Arbor Day–Friday, April 24

Plant a Tree for Arbor Day | Life |

Kenosha News

6 Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day in a Time of Social Distancing

By Sheereen Othman | March 20, 2020

This public health crisis has taught us to be more agile and creative in finding ways to celebrate trees and connect with nature. After all, there are many benefits to being around trees, including less stress.

Here are six easy ways you can celebrate Arbor Day while practicing social distancing.

1. Hike Through a Forest

Find a nearby trail in a forest (or park) and go for a walk, hike, or bike ride. Natural settings are effective in lowering stress. Exercising outdoors compared to exercising indoors helps people feel more revitalized, engaged with others, and less tense.

2. Online Nature Learning

When you can’t make it outdoors, stay in and learn about it. Carly’s Kids Corner is full of fun and educational resources to connect children with nature. The site includes interactive games that highlight that value of trees.

Trees without leaves on white background

3. Draw Your Favorite Trees

This is a great activity to do with young ones. Bring out the colored pencils and crayons and start drawing your best artwork. You could even use it as an extension of Carly’s Kids Corners by trying to identify the trees and including some tree facts.


4. Nature-based Crafts

Indoor days are perfect for arts and crafts. Pinterest is full of creative ideas for crafts made with natural materials like pine cones, needles, leaves, and twigs. See what you can find in your backyard and let your imagination get to work.

5. Order a Tree

Can one ever have too many trees? Whether you find a tree from a local nursery or the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Nursery, nothing says Arbor Day like buying and planting a tree. The tree you plant will benefit your whole community. Times like these remind us of the importance of healthy communities.

Read Designing a Landscape with Trees

6. Become a Member

When you become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, you support tree planting efforts around the globe. In addition to supporting something greater, your membership includes discounted trees from the Tree Nursery, our bi-monthly newsletter, and a copy of the Tree Book.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the air. Although we don’t know what the coming weeks look like, it’s still important to take time to pause, relax, and continue to celebrate the good things. Trees are proven to reduce stress and improve well-being. If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time.

Have a happy and healthy Arbor Day!

Rain Down–A Song for our Times


Rain down, rain down,
rain down your love on your people.
Rain down, rain down,
rain down your love, God of life.

1. Faithful and true is the word of our God;
all of God’s works are so worthy of trust.
God’s mercy falls on the just and the right;
full of God’s love is the earth.

2. We who revere and find hope in our God
live in the kindness and joy of God’s wing.
God will protect us from darkness and death;
God will not leave us to starve.

Rain Down · Jaime Cortez

Spirit & Song Disc J

℗ 2013 OCP All Rights Reserved All Selections BMI

Released on: 2013-11-15

Music Publisher: OCP

Types of music to listen to while working

man sitting in front of silver MacBook

Photo credit:

Article by Mary Grace Garis

People put on music to listen to while working for myriad reasons. Some may use it to pump themselves up, while others may lean on it as a tool for tightening their concentration. I, for one, often work in silence, but while sheltering in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, I’ve had a rough time staying motivated, so I’ve since reconsidered my stance on the powers of music for improving productivity. (I’ll try anything right now.) And in fact, after finding a YouTube station titled entitled Lofi Hip Hop Radio—Beats to Relax/Study To, I’ve completely changed my stance on music to listen to while working. But my discovery did lead me to wonder: What makes certain pieces of music more work-friendly than others?

As it turns out, a piece of music being “work-friendly” is entirely subjective and dependent on what you, as a worker, find to be effective. “Our goal should be to continually look for those things that help us tune into our authentic frequencies,” says career coach Erin Hatzikostas. “Once you can find your right frequency, then it’s just a matter of turning the volume up higher and higher. Music isn’t the only answer, but it’s more than a metaphor; music can be a literal catalyst to help us tune into our highest, truest vibrational frequency.”

Not sure where to start when it comes to finding your personal frequency? Career coach Maggie Mistal, for one, says she’s found personal success in optimizing music for her Ayurvedic dosha of pitta. “In Ayurveda, it’s believed that music can help balance out one’s energy. So I looked up music for balancing pitta, and found flute music.” She says it’s helped her stay calm and focused and productive.

Below find 5-genre playlist of music to listen to while working

1. Classical music

2. Ambient music (something very placid)

3. Video game music

4. Music infused with nature sounds

And finally, if you soft music with a gentle patter of rain, we have…

5. Lofi hip-hop beats to relax or study to

Check out the whole article with sound clips at:

Types of music to avoid while working

man in blue long-sleeved shirt sitting at table using laptop

Unsplash Photo by Power Digital Marketing

By Mary Grace Garis

As a general guideline, avoid music that’s going to challenge the brain. Again, this boils down to a few different components: If you’re trying to provide a background to your work (particularly if your work involves processing thoughts and words), steer clear of music with lyrics. Lyrics can give you mixed messages and distract you in the long run.

Highly complex structures of music can also jumble the brain and make it work overtime. That said, what you consider to be “complex” might rely on a boredom factor. Generally speaking though, you need less Swedish death metal with intricate guitar solos, and something more engaging than “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat.”

Finally, there’s plenty of research around how uplifting music can improve your mood and productivity simultaneously. That means a downer track like the “Imperial March” from Star Wars is not the way to go, no matter how evil your boss is.

Can listening to music make you more productive?

The short, sweet, and deeply unsatisfactory answer? It could. Some schools of thought contend that listening to music while working is a form of multitasking, which many say is not optimal for productivity. Because of this, the idea is we’d be better off pressing play 10 to 15 minutes before and after our work projects. Also worth noting though, is music can uplift and keep you steady through monotonous work. And also, some research suggests that certain music will or won’t work for productivity, based on your boredom tolerance. That means when we make our musical selection, we want to consider how we use our music. What makes up our melodies, when we use one song versus another song, and which genre would be best for specific tasks.

Read more of this article including what music TO listen to while working.

Hardworking Home Study Spaces

Article by Rachel Homer

Whether you home educate your child permanently or are home schooling for a shorter period, creating a personal and inviting space will not only motivate your little one’s productivity and inspiration, it will keep your home looking good and in order too. From dedicated home school rooms to DIY desks bursting with creativity, check out these ridiculously cool home school ideas that score top marks.


Slide 10 of 28: An architect has the expertise to incorporate practical and stylish living solutions for the whole family that you may not have considered. MATT Architecture created this playful basement which includes three streamlined study spaces with colorful internal lighting for each sibling. The closet doors act as clever partitions between desks so there are no distractions! 

© Matt Architecture

Slide 11 of 28: A sturdy window ledge can make an efficient and space-saving homework desk in open-plan living rooms. The window offers plenty of natural light and a pretty view is always good for the soul. Here, @heatheryounguk has installed an overlapping shelf on the existing windowsill for her twins to work on. Calming houseplants are hung from above to zone each study space. Stokke Tripp Trapp chairs inject a touch of color, are supportive of young backs and create funky 'bistro' hot-desk style.


Slide 12 of 28: Every home school setup needs a noticeboard, but how about a whole feature memo wall? For something a little different mount cork roll or tiles to the wall and cut in a diagonal finish. The geometric effect will look original and can be filled with artwork and educational aids that won't mark the existing wall behind.

© Crate & Barrel


Slide 5 of 28: As well as a school desk why not add a sensory table too? Choose a subject and then work together to make 3D models, tactile mobiles and colorful artwork. Children will enjoy investigating and retaining the information. Change the display with a different subject monthly or termly to keep creative juices and interest flowing. We love this 'moon studies' area by @wilkinsonnest. 


There are more idea’s for you at:

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden Important Things They Do

Article by

Marigolds in the vegetable garden, offer us so much as gardeners and homesteaders. Do you know why? Let me share the top 6 reasons you should be planting marigolds in the vegetable garden…if you aren’t already.

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden – Reason 1, Helping & Attracting Bees

As vegetable gardeners we know the importance of bees to the success of garden…aka pollination. Marigolds not only attract bees but they help the to thrive and survive! BUT if you are planting marigolds in the vegetable garden as part of your bee attracting plan there are a few caveats to be aware of (I’ve learned this the hard way). Bees prefer the single-bloom varieties of marigolds over the double. Secondly I highly recommend only planting seeds or flowers grown in organic conditions; the ones purchased at big-box stores contain insecticides that are bad for bees and your garden.

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden Important Things They Do - 6 Amazing Benefits for gardeners and homesteaders.

Marigolds in the vegetable garden, offer us so much as gardeners and homesteaders. Do you know why? Let me share the top 6 reasons you should be planting marigolds in the vegetable garden…if you aren’t already.

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden – Reason 1, Helping & Attracting Bees

As vegetable gardeners we know the importance of bees to the success of garden…aka pollination. Marigolds not only attract bees but they help the to thrive and survive! BUT if you are planting marigolds in the vegetable garden as part of your bee attracting plan there are a few caveats to be aware of (I’ve learned this the hard way). Bees prefer the single-bloom varieties of marigolds over the double. Secondly I highly recommend only planting seeds or flowers grown in organic conditions; the ones purchased at big-box stores contain insecticides that are bad for bees and your garden.

So before reading any of the other reasons to plant marigolds in the vegetable garden please note that I recommend only organically grown seeds and transplants.  

Check out these organic varities from Seeds Now

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden – Reason 2, Protecting Tomatoes

Marigolds and tomatoes are BFFs! The French Marigold is the best choice for tomato protection. Planting French Marigolds near your tomatoes has show to repel nematodes (learn more about nematodes here), slugs, tomato horn worms and other garden pests.

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden – Reason 3, Companion for Other Vegetables Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden Important Things They Do

Marigolds in the vegetable garden is a companion plant to bush beans, potatoes, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, squash, eggplant and kale. Again the French Marigold is the best bet but the Mexican Marigold and be extremely helpful too. The marigolds will help these veggies deter beetles, slugs leaf hoppers, bean beetles and the dreaded horn worms.

The strong scent of marigolds may be the reason they are such amazing helpers in the garden. Their scent masks the scent of your vegetables so garden pests and predators are not attracted there.

It should be noted that they can attract spider mites and in some areas slugs – though I have never seen this personally.

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden – Reason 4, They Add Color and Beauty

If being tough little pest fighters isn’t enough of a reason to plant marigolds in the vegetable garden, then let them add some gorgeous color and beauty to it. Now I think my veggies are beautiful, don’t get me wrong; but flowers just add a touch of whimsy and shot of knock-out color that can’t be beat.

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden – Reason 5, Low Maintenance Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden Important Things They Do

Another great thing about marigolds in the vegetable garden is that they are pretty low maintenance. As flowers go, they are easy to care for and will continue to grow for several seasons. They are hardy enough to stand up to droughts and frosts.

Marigolds in the Vegetable Garden – Reason 6, Medicinal Calendula

The medicinal herb calendula is in the marigold family. It has wonderful medicinal benefits when made into Calendula Oil or Calendula Salves; like helping skin conditions, rashes, wounds, bed sores, eczema and varicose veins. It can aid in treating itchiness, sores, inflammation and skin softening.

See the difference between French Marigolds and Pot Marigolds (Calendula) here.

So there you have it, 6 reasons to plant marigolds in the vegetable garden. Are you using marigolds in your garden? What has your experience been with them? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Introducing Yourself in English

Couple having coffee together in cafe

© Cultura/Antonio Saba/ Riser/ Getty Images

Learning how to introduce yourself is an essential part of learning how to converse in English. Introductions are also an important part of making small talk at parties or other social events. Introductory phrases are different than the ones we use to greet friends, but they’re often used together as parts of the broader conversation, as you’ll see.

Introducing Yourself

In this example, Peter and Jane are meeting for the first time at a social event. After greeting each other, they begin by asking simple personal questions. Working with a friend or classmate, take turns practicing this role-play.

Peter: Hello.

Jane: Hi!

Peter: My name is Peter. What’s your name?

Jane: My name is Jane. Nice to meet you.

Peter: It’s a pleasure. This is a great party!

Jane: Yes, it is. Where are you from?

Peter: I’m from Amsterdam.

Jane: Amsterdam? Are you German?

Peter: No, I’m not German. I’m Dutch.

Jane: Oh, you’re Dutch. Sorry about that.

Peter: That’s OK. Where are you from?

Jane: I’m from London, but I’m not British.

Peter: No, what are you?

Jane: Well, my parents were Spanish, so I’m Spanish, too.

Peter: That’s very interesting. Spain is a beautiful country.

Jane: Thank you. It is a wonderful place.

Key Vocabulary

In the previous example, Peter and Jane are introducing themselves. Several important phrases that they use in this exchange are:

  • My name is…
  • Where are you from?
  • I’m from… (city, state, or country)
  • Are you… (Spanish, American, German, etc.)

Introducing Other People

Introductions in Formal Situations

Introductions can occur between more than two people, for example at a party or at a business meeting. When you meet someone for the first time, it is common to greet them by saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” or “Pleased to meet you.” It is polite to respond by repeating the statement back at them, as Mary does in this example:

Ken: Peter, I’d like you to meet Mary.

Peter: It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Mary: It’s a pleasure to meet you too!

Ken: Mary works for…

Introductions in Informal Situations

In informal situations, especially in North America, introductions are also made simply saying, “This is (name).” It is also common to just say “Hi” or “Hello” as a response in this informal setting.

Ken: Peter, this is Mary.

Peter: Hi. How are you?

Mary: Hello! Pleased to meet you.

Ken: Mary works for…

Common Introductory Phrases

As you can see in the previous examples, there are a number of different phrases that are commonly used to introduce strangers:

  • (name), I don’t think you’ve met (name).
  • I don’t think you know (name)
  • May I introduce you to (name)
  • (name), do you know (name)?
  • (name), I’d like you to meet (name)

Saying Hello and Goodbye

Many people begin and end conversations by saying hello and goodbye to each other. Doing so is considered good manners in many parts of the English-speaking world, and it’s also a simple way to express friendly interest in whoever you’re chatting with.

A simple greeting followed by asking about the other person is all that is needed to begin an introduction. In this brief scenario, two people have just met:

Jane: Hello, Peter. How are you?

Peter: Fine, thanks. How are you?

Jane: I’m fine, thank you.

Once you’re finished speaking with someone, it’s customary to say goodbye as you both part, as in this example:

Peter: Goodbye, Jane. See you tomorrow!

Jane: Bye bye, Peter. Have a nice evening.

Peter: Thanks, you too!

Key Vocabulary

Key phrases to remember include:

  • Hello… How are you?
  • I’m fine, thank you
  • Goodbye
  • See you… (tomorrow, this weekend, next week, etc.)
  • Have a nice… (day, evening, week, etc.)

More Beginning Dialogues

Once you’re mastered introducing yourself, you can practice your English skills with more exercises, including telling time, shopping at a store, traveling at an airport, asking for directions, staying at a hotel, and eating at a restaurant. Work with a friend or classmate to practice these role-playing dialogues, just as you did for these exercises.

Learning English dialogue can be frustrating, doubly so if you tend to be more introverted.  However, once basic skills are learned, introversion takes a back seat as you become more interested in talking with someone than focusing on yourself.  DH

Thanks to:


Most Exotic and Beautiful Beaches Around the World

Article by Krystyna Chávez of Marie Claire

For those moments you need something to look forward to, allow me to present: the most dazzling and jaw-dropping beaches around the world. Get out your bucket list and a pen, and prepare yourself some intense future vacation inspiration.

Slide 3 of 51: Live the hut life on Seram Island in Maluku, Indonesia.

© Michael and Monica Sweet

Slide 6 of 51: As you drive down the California coast, stopping at Laguna is a must. The sunsets are unmatched and that cool, California wind in your hair is fabulous.

© Lagunatic

Slide 7 of 51: Translated to "Cathedral beach," it's no wonder where this stunning Spanish beach gets its name.

© bbsferrari

Slide 8 of 51: This stunning white pebble beach is found in Kefalonia, Greece.

© Cavan Images

Slide 11 of 51: Heaven on earth does exist, and you can find it in the Seychelles.

© Jon Arnold

There’s more to dream about at: